New Law Requires NJ Public Schools to Develop Threat Assessment Teams
Governor Murphy signed another new law today, A4075/3229, requiring the board of education in each school district in NJ to develop a threat assessment team.
These “threat assessment teams” will provide teachers, administrators, and other staff with assistance in identifying “students of concern, assessing those students’ risk for engaging in violence or other harmful activities.”
The threat assessment teams will be trained to provide intervention strategies for students who pose a potential safety risk to prevent targeted violence in schools and ensure a safe environment for learning.
The threat assessment team will include:
- A school psychologist, school counselor, school social worker, or another school employee with expertise in student counseling
- A teaching staff member
- A school principal or other senior school administrator
- A safe school’s resource officer or school employee who serves as a school liaison to law enforcement
- A designated school safety specialist
The law will take effect immediately for the 2022-2023 school year.
What are they saying:
“We are not only first responders, we are first preventers," said Director Laurie Doran of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. "The establishment of threat assessment teams in public schools will equip these communities with the resources they need to prevent violence and help ensure the safety of students and educators.”
“In recent history, we have seen far too many tragic events, resulting in the loss of innocent lives,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz. “Equipping adults with the tools necessary to identify students as a potential threat can enhance the ability of our districts and schools to help identify any risks before an act of violence occurs.”
“Tragically, we have seen all too many times that our students are sometimes exposed to potential dangers from fellow students. This legislation will help our schools identify students who may be considered a threat to themselves and to others before it is too late,” said Senator James Beach, sponsor of S-2765. “Unfortunately, this is the reality of our often-violent world. As we head into a new school year in a few weeks, we want to give our schools’ administrators, counselors and security teams all the tools we can to keep our students safe.”
“I really, truly believe that if we focus on students that are in crisis before they cause harm to themselves or others, we can be the most impactful,” said State Assembly Education Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt. “The new law will help us determine the right people around the table to have a conversation on how to diffuse school threats when they arise.”
“One of the goals of the threat assessment teams is to avert dangerous incidents that may come from potential school threats,” said Assemblyman William F. Moen, Jr. “With this kind of program in place, we could address not only the larger issues facing schools but some of the smaller issues as well before they build into something more.”
“Creating a threat assessment team in each school district prepares educators and administrators to handle any concerns now and, in the future,” said Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera. “A team of school psychologists, social workers, counselors, principals, safety specialists, and police liaisons will be able to pool their resources to identify students who are considered to be a threat to themselves or others. Their efforts will lend to stronger and safer school communities throughout the State.”