Montgomery Co. approves creation of school violence prevention teams

The Montgomery County Board of Education, which oversees Maryland’s largest school system, unanimously approved a plan to create behavioral threat assessment teams at each school and across the school district.

Each behavioral threat assessment team will include a mental health professional and a school resource officer. Each team will be responsible for appraising student, teacher and staff behaviors to identify anyone who might pose a threat to the safety of the school or an individual at the school.

The threat assessment teams are part of an 18-page policy in which the board of education is committing itself to providing safety for all individuals at the schools, while also creating and maintaining safe, peaceful schools and workplaces.

“I think this is one of the most important policies that we’re adopting. I mean our students’ well-being and safety is paramount,” said board member Patricia O’Neill.

“The world we live in is very different from when I was a child. There are many more threats, many more things to worry about.”

The policy also includes the establishment of an incident reporting management system. The system will report health, safety and security incidents and written procedures to address responses.

Each principal must ensure that the school has an on-site crisis team to support students and staff. The crisis team must be trained in de-escalation and physical intervention skills.

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