Press release

PCG Leads School Violence Threat Assessment Panel at SXSW EDU March 9

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Following a spate of tragic, deadly U.S. school shootings, what are today’s best practices for school administrators to identify students at highest risk for violence and provide monitoring and intervention?

Behavioral Threat Assessment & Community Resources” is the focus of a panel discussion being led March 9 at the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival by Public Consulting Group, Inc. (PCG). The Boston-based consulting firm has developed a secure, Web-based BTA solution and overall consulting approach drawing on models developed by the U.S. Secret Service, Commonwealth of Virginia, and top educators and safety officials around the country.

PCG Senior Associate Paul Wilson will lead a SXSW EDU panel on Monday, March 9, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. that also features:

  • Dan Gohl, Chief Academic Officer of the Broward County (Florida) Public Schools, who has managed the aftermath of the tragedy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.
  • Kathy Martinez-Prather, Director of the Texas School Safety Center, who leads her state’s efforts in implementing best practices in addressing school violence.
  • John Van Dreal, former Director of Safety and Risk Management for the Salem-Keizer Public Schools system in Salem, Oregon, who has written the book on school threat assessment. He developed the Salem-Keizer model for threat assessment, which is widely used across the country.

“While we are rightly shocked and outraged by any incident of violence inside our schools, we want to convey the important message that holistic violence prevention in our schools and communities is possible,” said Wilson.

Daniel Wistman, a manager in PCG’s Education practice, said, “Evidence-based behavioral threat assessments can play a critical role as part of a multi-agency approach that creates a collaborative network of school, law enforcement, juvenile justice, community behavioral health, and other public-sector resources to prevent school shootings and violence.”

PCG’s BTA solution uses a case-management approach to identify threats by students, review contextual evidence including interviews with teachers and classmates and school records, and assign a risk level to the student. The solution informs and supports educators and school staff as they plan necessary actions and interventions, monitor students’ behavior and completion of planned interventions, and analyze overall data and trends.

“By gathering in one secure Web-accessible portal with dashboard, information that all too often has been siloed in databases, or even on paper, we can help school leaders identify students on a pathway to violence and refer them for support and behavioral- and mental-health services before threats turn into tragedy,” Wistman said.

When necessary, the solution platform can facilitate immediate communications and collaboration from members of a monitored student’s BTA team both inside and outside the school district to head off potential harm.

PCG research has identified many characteristics of students who have threatened and committed school violence: 66 percent have had no mental health evaluation, 71 percent were victims of bullying, and 78 percent considered or attempted suicide.

Building off that research and the Virginia Model for Student Threat Assessment and the National Threat Assessment Center, PCG has partnered with school districts in Florida, Virginia, and school leaders elsewhere to refine the BTA solution.

The SXSW EDU “Behavioral Threat Assessment & Community Resources” panel will be held in room 18AB of the Austin Convention Center at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 2020.

About Public Consulting Group

Public Consulting Group, Inc. (PCG) is a leading public sector solutions implementation and operations improvement firm that partners with health, education, and human services agencies to improve lives. Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Boston, Mass., PCG has over 2,500 professionals in more than 50 offices around the US, in Canada and in Europe. To learn more, visit