School Shootings

'Red flags' for assessment, detection, and signs of school violence

This course meets the qualifications for 7 hours of continuing education

Learning Objectives

The clinician will be able to:

1. Recognize the 'red flags', for assessment, detection, and signs of school violence

2. List five prevailing factors of school shootings

3. Describe the characteristics of youth who have caused school-associated violent deaths

4. Describe the School Shooter Threat Assessment Model created by the FBI

5. Apply The Four-Pronged Assessment Model:

Prong One: Personality of the student
Prong Two: Family dynamics
Prong Three: School dynamics and the student's role in those dynamics
Prong Four: Social dynamics

6. Anaylze the personality traits and behaviors of the school shooter.

7. Demonstrate techniques for preventing bullying

8. Describe techniques for assisting children after of a tragedy

9. Discuss how to assess threats


December 14, 2012

Tears are streaming down my cheeks. It's happening again.
20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their Newtown home before fatally shooting twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut. He then committed suicide.
I can't look at their pictures anymore - they are
so innocent, so young.
The massacre was the second-deadliest shooting at an educational institution in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. It was also the second-deadliest mass murder at an American elementary school, after the Bath School bombings of 1927.
This madness has to stop!

Here are some links from the National Center for Crisis Management and the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress:

Practical Suggestions for Assisting Children in the Aftermath of a Tragedy
Teacher Guidelines for Crisis Response
Parent Guidelines for Crisis Response
How Do People Respond During Traumatic Exposure?
Helpful Information During and After a Traumatic Event

Rather than show you the killer, I will show you who died:

April 17, 2007

I watch with horror as the events from Virginia Tech emerge. A massacre on campus; 32 people killed, then the killer committed suicide. He chained the doors closed so no rescue workers could come in.

"The rampage consisted of two attacks, more than two hours apart - first at a dormitory, where two people were killed, then inside a classroom building, where 31 people, including Cho, died after being locked inside, Virginia State Police said. Cho committed suicide; two guns were found in the classroom building."

"A South Korean student railed against "rich kids, debauchery and deceitful charlatans" in a note he left behind before carrying out the deadliest school shooting in US history, US media reported.

The 23-year-old student wrote: “You caused me to do this,” in a several-page-long note that he left in his dorm room, ABC News reported.

The note began in the present tense and then shifted to the past tense as Cho Seung-Hui explained his actions amid a rambling list of grievances cited by the Chicago Tribune.

Cho wrote the note in his door room after he killed two people in another dorm room, ABC reported.

He then re-armed and went to a classroom building on the other side of campus where he killed 30 more people before shooting himself in the head, sources told ABC.

Cho had also shown recent signs of “violent, aberrant behaviour,” including stalking women and setting a fire in a dorm room, investigators in Virginia told the Chicago Tribune.

Authorities found a receipt for a Glock 9 millimetre handgun, bought on March 13, in Cho's backpack which also contained two knives and a cache of bullets, ABC reported.

He bought his second weapon, a .22 caliber pistol, within the last week, ABC reported."


October 3, 2006

The week of horror, the week of  torture, the week in which there were three school shootings, has passed. Children and adults are being murdered in our schools, and we seem powerless to protect them. From Wednesday September 27, to Monday, October 2, 2006 there were three school shootings in the United States.

This course will look at two different types of school shootings: children who kill in their schools, and adults who go to a school and kill. We will try to make sense of the insensible.

Included in this course are excerpts from:

National Threat Assessment Center Secret Service Safe School Initiative

Checklist of Characteristics of Youth Who Have Caused School-Associated Violent Deaths

by the Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG)
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC)
FBI Academy

Portrait of a killer: Jeff Weise, including his graphic Internet postings and Flash movies

Assessing Potentially Violent Students.

Adults who kill students

Practical Suggestions for Assisting Children in the Aftermath of a Tragedy
Reprinted from A Practical Guide for Crisis Response in Our Schools
© 2003 by The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress

Preventing Bullying

The Fundamentals of School Security

Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities: Lockdown Drills

Students who kill

Darkness to Light, a sexual abuse prevention organization, presents the shocking statistic that 72% of school shootings were perpetrated by kids who had been abused at a younger age.

To see the 30-second public service announcement, go to and follow the prompts for "School".

In their own words, the boys who have killed in America's schools offer a simple suggestion to prevent it from happening again: Listen to us.
"I told everyone what I was going to do," said Evan Ramsey, 16, who killed his principal and a student in remote Bethel, Alaska, in 1997. He told so many students about his hit list that his friends crowded the library balcony to watch. One boy brought a camera. "You're not supposed to be up here," one girl told another. "You're on the list."
Researchers from the Secret Service have completed a detailed analysis of 37 school shootings. They reviewed case files and interviewed 10 of the shooters. The Secret Service shared the results of its Safe School Initiative with the Chicago Sun-Times.
As it turns out, kids at school usually knew what would happen because the shooters had told them, but the bystanders didn't warn anyone. That disturbing pattern gives hope: If kids plan, there is time to intervene. If kids tell, teachers or parents might be able to learn what a student is planning--if they take time to ask.
Together, the school shooters make a diverse class portrait. They are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Alaskan. They were in public schools and Christian schools. Few had a mental illness, although many were desperate and depressed.
The shooters do share one characteristic: They are all boys.
As a Secret Service consultant says, "If every parent went away from this, not worrying that their boy is going to kill someone, but listening and paying attention to depression, we'd be better off."

Dedham, Bill, Examining the psyche of an adolescent killer, October 15, 2000, Chicago Sun-Times


A sad commentary is now equal rights have arrived to the arena of school shootings.

WILLIAMSPORT: A 14-year-old girl opened fire with a handgun in the crowded cafeteria of a Roman Catholic school on Wednesday, wounding a female classmate in the second US school shooting in three days, the police said. The first school shooting in recent years to involve a female suspect unfolded at Bishop Neumann High School when eighth-grader Elizabeth Bush allegedly walked up behind 13-year-old Kimberly Marchese in a crowd of 115 students and shot her in the right shoulder with a .22 calibre handgun. Marchese was hospitalised in stable condition at a regional trauma centre. Reuters

Brenda Ann Spencer - her reason for shooting up the school was because she "didn't like Mondays." You can read more about her on Wikipedia:

And then there was a female shooter named Laurie Dann. However, she wasn't a student, but a mentally unstable young woman. I don't know if technically she could be consider a school shooter, although she did kill a child in a school. You can read more here:

The children who kill often have been sexually abused and bullied.  Their mental and physiological state must be one of profound fear. They are depressed, and feel helpless and overwhelmed.

They tell people their plans. No one picks up on the pain, the alienation. They are often lonely and isolated.

The survival response is activated; flight or fight, and they fight. Finding a weapon, the overwhelmed psyche of these children finally decides to fight back. The result is deadly, to themselves and to others.

is approved by the:

CA BBS - California Board of Behavioral Science accepts our CE Provider Approvals through APA, NASW, and NBCC. Course meets the qualifications for hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Science
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, Mental Health Counseling (BAP 753 )
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#575)
NBCC - National Board for Certified Counselors - has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6055. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. (ACEP #6055)
Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#1761)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#6246)
maintains responsibility for the program.



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