Safe School Initiative: An Interim Report on the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Bullying, Crime Prevention, Delinquency, Elementary Secondary Education, Government Publications, Peer Relationship, School Security, Social Environment, Violence, Youth Problems


Personnel from the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) studied 37 school shootings, involving 41 attackers who were current or recent students at the schools. Shootings clearly related to gang or involved with a relationship dispute that just happened to occur at school were not included. This report presents the preliminary findings from analysis of the behavior and thinking of these school shooters. It determined that most incidents of targeted violence are rarely impulsive. Attacks are typically the results of an understandable and discernable process of thinking and behavior. Prior to the incident, the attacker told someone about his idea, although there is not an accurate profile of the school shooter. Most attackers had access to guns. In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity, and bullying played a key role in the attack. Most attackers engaged in some kind of behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help. The report suggests that a significant step in prevention is not only to identify students who are plotting an attack, but determine how best to respond to students who are already known to be in trouble.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Safe School Initiative: An Interim Report on the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools, in U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Cener, 13 p.