The Secret Service on Thursday released a guide to help schools, communities and police better detect students who might be at a potential risk for a shooting attack or other mass violence.
"We want to identify individuals who might be exhibiting this concerning behavior, or are in distress, before they decide to use violence to solve their problems," Lina Alathari, head of the agency's National Threat Assessment Center, told The Wall Street Journal.
The center, which researches targeted violent attacks and makes recommendations on how to address them, produced the 32-page guide in hopes that schools can better develop programs to reach such students before they act.
More than 80 percent of such targeted attacks had some indication that a perpetrator was planning such an assault, according to the center's research.
Perpetrators generally exhibited depression, feelings of alienation or dramatic changes in mood, dress or behavior, the Journal reports.
The guide, which also includes nationwide resource information, follows the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which killed 17 people and injured 17 others.
"Everyone has a role in preventing school violence and creating safe school climates," the guide concludes.
"The threat-assessment procedures detailed in this guide are an important component of school safety and security efforts and have been determined to be the best-practice in the prevention of targeted school violence.
"It encourages schools to set a low threshold when identifying students who might be engaging in unusual behavior, or experiencing distress, so that early interventions can be applied to reduce the risk of violence or other negative outcomes."
The guide updates recommendations published in 2002 — and Alathari told the Journal that the center was further examining such attacks in light of "social media and technology."
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