Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nathaniel von der Embse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lyndsay Boggess, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kahlila Lawrence, Ph.D.


community violence, violence prevention, school safety, threat assessment


Despite significant media attention provided to school-based acts of violence, these tragic incidents are relatively rare across school environments, leading to increasing challenges in identifying students who may pose a threat. Previous approaches to school discipline, including policies such as zero tolerance, resulted in significant racial disparities among students who received disciplinary consequences inconsistent with the severity of their behaviors or threats. Alternatively, a relatively recent approach that emerged following a series of school shootings in the 1990s was school threat assessment, which focuses on prevention rather than prediction. While it is important to determine students who may pose a threat, equally important is understanding factors that contribute to threats and acts of violence in schools. Previous theories have linked both individual and community factors to violence, crime, and offending; however, no previous research has examined a possible link between rates of community violence/crime and threats of school violence. Results of the current study displayed no statistically significant relationships between community violence or threat severity and rates of threat assessments. Furthermore, school and community heterogeneity were not strong predictors of rates of threat assessments; however, community heterogeneity was correlated with rates of threat assessments. Implications for practice and future directions for research are discussed.