South Carolina schools required to have threat assessment teams

South Carolina schools required to have threat assessment teams

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Every school district in the state is now required to have a team of people who assess threats at every school.

The State Department of Education says this is the biggest policy change for the upcoming school year.

The teams address potential threats to school security before they happen.

While back-to-school time consists of getting school supplies, teacher nights and early bedtimes now school safety has become a growing conversation.

“Nobody who went to school on any day that a school got shot up ever thought that would happen at their school,” said Matt Longo, a Charleston area resident who has children in school.

He says he's doesn't worry too much about his children going to school.

"It's obviously a concern, but it doesn't keep me up at night," Longo said.

That’s not the case for all parents. Longo says he supports threat assessments teams.

Various workers at schools including teacher, administrators and other staff are trained to identity students who may pose a danger to themselves or others.

From there the school can talk with the students, parents or involve law enforcement.

There are guidelines on how to approach various scenarios.

“You just don’t know what’s going on these day, the things in their head. The things they are exposed to with the internet and so on and so fourth,” Longo said.

Some school districts in the area like Charleston and Dorchester District Two have had threat assessments teams for years.

Dorchester District Two officials say they were one of the first districts have a board approved threat assessment policy.

Colleton County created a team earlier this year.

According to the South Carolina Department of Education, an additional $2.2 million was allocated by the General Assembly this year to provide mental health counselors in schools.

Also, $10 million was used to hire additional school resource officers for schools who cannot afford them.

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