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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Forum (SPF) Volume 2 Issue 2 (Winter 2008) Targeted Threat Assessment: Ethical C...
Volume 2, Issue 2 (Winter 2008)

Targeted Threat Assessment: Ethical Considerations for School Psychologists

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Abstract: There is a continuing need for school psychologists to provide expert advice about procedures to follow when a student makes a threat of violence. Given the essential impossibility of predicting specific future acts of violence, rendering judgments about the danger posed by circumstances surrounding threats often raise challenges to follow best practices while respecting professional ethical principles. Our focus is to examine ethical practices in the context of current practice to stimulate discussion surrounding possible unintended consequences when professionals respond to students who threaten violence. First, we briefly review targeted threat-assessment practices to provide a foundation for discussion. We then summarize ethical considerations as they apply to threat assessment in general. Finally, ethical considerations are applied to procedures proposed by the Virginia Model for Student Threat Assessment (Cornell & Sheras, 2006), which has a record of successful impleme

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