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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Feds push 'threat assessment' to prevent school shootings

The young man who murdered 17 students and staffers at a Parkland, Florida high school he once attended, was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole last week. He began getting in trouble at an early age: It was one red flag after another.

Most school shooters have a history of depression. But very, very few depressed teenagers become violent.

The same is true of the 18-year-old who murdered 19 children and two teachers at an Uvalde, Texas school: There were many, many warning signs, including Instagram photos of semi-automatic rifles and a propensity to kill cats.

School shootings can be prevented by identifying youth with an "affinity for violence," federal law enforcement officials argued at a school safety summit, reports Mark Keierleber on The 74. The National Summit on K-12 School Safety and Security was hosted by the Department of Homeland Security.

We "need to make sure we’re setting a lower threshold for what we want to intervene with — such as being bullied, depression, suicidality — because we’ve also seen those in the background of these students that resorted to violence,” said Lina Alathari, chief of the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.

If students who are depressed or victims of bullying are seen as potential shooters, that's a whole lot of kids, Keierleber notes. "Given the reality that school shooters often leak their plans to friends or online, summit panelists also endorsed a need to monitor students on the internet — a practice that has raised a separate set of civil rights and digital privacy concerns," he writes.

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