Behavioral Threat Assessment Management
The MSSC will assist schools to utilize best practices in the development and implementation of behavioral threat assessment management and intervention programs.
The Threat Assessment Advisory Committee (TAAC) is comprised of representation from multiple disciplines to collaboratively address Behavioral Threat Assessment Management (BTAM) needs and best practices Please click on the link to see our committee members.
Q: What is Behavioral Threat Assessment Management?
A: Behavioral Threat Assessment Management (BTAM) is a fact-based, investigative approach to evaluate threats and determine how likely a person is to carry out a threat of violence. By investigating, gathering facts, and assessing threats, the Behavioral Threat Assessment Management Team can do four important tasks:
1. Identify persons of concern: This could be an individual at risk for violence against themselves or others. Keep in mind that these individuals may be any type of school stakeholder including, a student, staff member, parent, or community member.
2. Gather information/investigate: Avoid focusing on a single factor. Consider interactions between the person, the situation, and the setting using multiple data sources.
3. Assess person and situation: How concerned should we be about this individual? Be mindful of where the individual falls on the pathway to violence — ideation, planning, preparation, or implementation.
4. Manage the person/situation: What are we going to do about it? How is the school or any other agency providing appropriate support and interventions? Are we taking necessary steps to deter the individual from engaging in violence?
Q: Why should Maine schools have a BTAM team?
A: The goal of the BTAM Team is to move individuals off a pathway to violence and resolve the underlying issues that may have put them on that pathway by providing needed resources to reduce the stressors surrounding the situation, removing, or redirecting the individual’s motive, and creating a situation that is less prone to violence. While the State of Maine does not currently have a legal requirement for schools to implement BTAM processes, they have aligned with federal recommendations and research based best practices and adopted BTAM as a key strategy to identify threats and implement effective interventions.
BTAM and Student Discipline
While BTAM is not punitive in nature and is not intended to be used as a disciplinary process, there may be situations where local policy or state law require disciplinary actions be taken related to the student’s behavior. The disciplinary process may be implemented at the same time the BTAM team is meeting but is a separate process that operates independently of the BTAM process. In these situations, a case management plan is developed to reflect these consequences and provide resources for the student when they return to school.
BTAM and Law Enforcement
There are many times that local law enforcement will be involved in processing a threat assessment case. While each situation will vary,
general guidance is that law enforcement should be involved in situations involving weapons, explosive materials, poisonous materials, drugs, or other illegal items; if state or local law has been broken in the process of making the threat; or when assistance is needed in completing the assessment. Should the information gathered during the assessment process indicate a threat beyond what the team can determine, law enforcement should be informed to determine if additional action should be taken. Local policies may provide additional information related to when law enforcement should be notified.
BTAM Info for Parents
While specific processes will vary based on local policy and procedures, this informational flier provides a general overview of the BTAM process for parents.
Resources & Publications
Karen Barnes, Ph.D.
Behavioral Threat Assessment Management Coordinator