Before school year begins, educators learn how to handle potential threats

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 450 Rhode Island educators gathered in Warwick Tuesday to learn how to best utilize their threat assessment teams.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed and Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law a bill that requires every Rhode Island school to have a team that addresses worrisome behavior.

“Without question, it could absolutely save lives,” Lincoln Superintendent Lawrence Filippelli said.

Filippelli said these teams don’t deal in hypothetical problems and they look into issues constantly.

“These are situations we deal with in schools every single day of the week, so getting new strategies, learning more about the topic, it benefits everybody,” Filippelli said.

The assessment team training is spearheaded by Rhode Island State Police Captain Derek Borek.

He said mass shootings at schools can often be stopped by being proactive.

“In many cases of these mass shootings or shootings in our schools, we hear this individual had some history in the past but it was never shared with anyone and it was never vetted the right way to ensure this person doesn’t do that,” Borek said.

Borek said each school decides how they utilize their threat assessment teams.

It can be made up of a number of positions from psychologists and principals to social workers and teachers.

The key is that a team looks into behavioral concerns, assesses if it’s a problem and then addresses it.

“I think something like this could definitely get ahead and save lives if an individual student – could be a parent for that matter – wants to gout and harm a whole bunch of individuals in a school,” he said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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