The majority of recent school attacks have had precursors leaked online in the form of social media posts. Knowing how, when, and where to look for this information is crucial to the process of threat assessment.
Senate Bill 11, passed during the 86th Texas Legislative Session in 2019, added Section 115 to Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code. This section requires all public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools in Texas to have a trained, multidisciplinary threat assessment team whose purpose is to identify, assess, report, and manage individuals who make threats of violence, or who exhibit harmful, threatening or violent behavior. The team also gathers and analyzes data to determine the level of risk and appropriate intervention.
This toolkit was developed in collaboration with Safer Schools Together, and the information is meant to enhance the effectiveness of your threat assessment team and your existing framework for threat assessment. DTA teaches threat assessment teams how to assess threats on social media and those facilitated through technology.
This toolkit will introduce you to Digital Threat Assessment, including basic techniques for conducting internet searches and verifying whether an image is stock or unique, and it will provide a more in-depth look at some of the most popular social media platforms among youth.
Technology, the internet, and social media are constantly evolving, and information can become outdated quickly. Throughout this toolkit, we have included links to Google Searches to help you locate information and tutorials for the specific device or operating system (e.g., Windows, macOS, Chromebook, Android, iPhone) and browser (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, Safari) that you use. We encourage you to use these links to find the most current information about updates and new features. If the links provided do not match your needs, search using Google or another search engine using key words.
Note: As of 2020, TikTok is rising in popularity as quickly as Snapchat and Instagram.