Risk assessments are a device used in an attempt to combat school violence. With
incidents such as Columbine, it is clear that schools are now charged with the responsibility of a proactive
approach to addressing the possibility of a violent act. It should be noted that conducting a risk assessment
alone can only gauge possible risk. It can in no way predict or help to profile students and their behavior.
Therefore, an effective risk assessment is based upon facts, rather than on characteristics or “traits.”
Prior to conducting assessments of any kind, the following five principles should guide school-based teams in
their decision-making:
1. DO NO HARM
a. Always keep the best interest of the student of first and foremost importance.
2. Understand Violence and Aggression within a context.
a. Environmental factors must be considered.
3. Avoid stereotypes and profiling.
4. View Warning Signs within a developmental context.
5. Understand that children typically exhibit multiple warning signs at any given time.