In 2021, the Ohio General Assembly enacted the Safety and Violence Education Students (SAVE Students) Act. The Act included a variety of provisions on school security and youth suicide awareness education and training.
The purpose of the SAVE Students Act is to promote a comprehensive approach to school safety. It supports Ohio’s whole child model of education, Each Child, Our Future. Safety is one of the five pillars of Each Child, Our Future, which states that student success is dependent on whether students feel safe and supported in school. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has prepared an overview of the SAVE Students Act which explains its provisions more fully.
One of the laws enacted in the SAVE Students Act, Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3313.669, requires districts to create a multidisciplinary threat assessment teams for the district and for each school building in the district serving students in grades six through 12. ODE recommends that the district team be composed of two or three individuals responsible for school safety. Middle and high school teams should be composed of the principal, assistant principal, school mental health professional, school resource officer and one or two other people. For elementary buildings serving students in the identified range, although they are not specifically mentioned in RC 3313.669, ODE recommends that building threat assessment teams should be composed of the principal, a school mental health professional and one other person.
These teams must be created not later than March 24, 2023. Each member of a building threat assessment team is required to complete an approved threat assessment training program from a list compiled by the Ohio Department of Public Safety in consultation with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Attorney General’s Office. ODE has recommended that team members from the same district attend the same training.
ODE has announced free training opportunities that will occur over the next few months and fulfill this statutory requirement. The training will be offered by Ohio’s educational service centers (ESCs) and will focus on the nationally recognized Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG). The CSTAG training will cover such topics as:
- How threat assessment teams function.
- What steps teams should follow in conducting an assessment.
- Identification, assessment and management of threats.
- Resolving conflicts and problems before they escalate.
- Mental health assessment of a student who poses a very serious substantive threat.
- Intervention strategies to help troubled students and prevent their conflicts and problems from escalating into violence.
Any district that has or will be creating threat assessment teams in anticipation of the March 2023 deadline can contact their ESC to schedule this free CSTAG training. ESCs will also be reaching out to districts to discuss these training opportunities.