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Photo by Michael Oh // CC BY-SA 2.0

Santa Monica College, pictured here, is one of many schools nationwide to adopt a "threat-assessment team."

In the years since shootings struck the campuses of Santa Monica College and Virginia Tech University, colleges nationwide have redoubled their efforts to track and prevent threats to student safety. 

At Santa Monica, a “threat-assessment team” congregates twice a week to discuss students who have been reported as possible threats to themselves or others, according to a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Similar teams exist at Virginia Tech and George Washington University

This crisis-prevention team, consisting of administrators and school staffers, categorizes students by threat levels (1-9) according to their perceived potential harm to themselves and others. A caseworker then refers students deemed to have "high" threat levels to relevant services. Most students are unaware that they are being monitored, the Chronicle reported.

The number of threat-assessment teams across the country has vastly increased since Santa Monica College’s team first formed four years ago in the aftermath of a student's shooting rampage that left several students dead. The National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, also known as NaBITA, currently has around 900 college and university members according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The organization marked its founding in 2009 with the launch of a report, "Threat Assessment in the Campus Setting," that includes a variety of tools, including a nine-level model of "aggression."

Using the model set up by NaBITA, various colleges and universities, including the University of Oklahoma and the University of Mississippi, have adopted behavioral intervention teams.

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