Chipola College Holds School Shooting Seminar

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JACKSON COUNTY-- Panhandle authorities continue to look for ways to better secure our schools. Some of the took part in a threat assessment training seminar Thursday morning at Chipola College. Experts say there are methods of preventing school shootings, weeks and even months before they become an imminent threat.

Since the 2012 Sandy Hook Shooting, there have been 15 more school shootings across the nation.

"That was a tough day and I knew my law enforcement partners were gonna need answers,” said United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Pamela Marsh. “So we gathered them all together across the northern district of Florida to talk about what a resolution or an answer in the northern district might be."

That answer was a threat assessment training seminar Thursday at Chipola College. Hosted by University of Virginia Professor Dr. Dewey Cornell, the program focused on individuals who could be seen as a threat.

"Instead of responding to a crisis that's already happened in a school, we can prevent the crisis from happening in the first place" said Marsh.

Following Sandy Hook, Cornell says schools began zero tolerance suspensions.

"These threat assessment guidelines allow schools to carefully evaluate a student’s behavior and resolve the problem underlying the threat," said Cornell.

The best way to distinguish whether a student's behavior is deemed dangerous is based on two types of threats.

"We help them to distinguish between threats that are not so serious called transient threats,” he explained. “Or, more serious or substantive threats where they need to take appropriate protective action."

Some think the approach can have a positive outcome.

"It does gonna be a benefit, I think for truancy, and other issues we might see,” said Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts. “Bullying, and some of the concerns we have in our school now."

Law enforcement officials from Calhoun, Jackson, and Gadsden counties participated in Thursday's program.