Based on empirical studies suggesting parallels between mass shooters in schools and lone-actor terrorists, the backgrounder offers schools a three-pronged strategy for risk reduction:
Identifying observable warning signs;
Developing school programs that encourage respect and inclusion; and
Implementing curriculum resources that teach students to be safe and conscientious consumers of online material.
“While there is no one pathway into violence, certain observable behaviors have emerged in the research,” said Alejandro Beutel, a START researcher who contributed to the backgrounder. “While some students who exhibit these common warning signs may not be planning anything violent, they may still benefit from assistance. It’s better to see these kinds of signs as a type of ‘cry for help’ rather than doing nothing.”