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Secret Service Program Stresses Behavioral Monitoring In Schools

In a land where gun control is politically impossible, the only tangible help the Biden administration offers schools is resources to conduct better behavioral profiling of students, through a Secret Service center founded to study the psychology of presidential assassins. A bipartisan bill aims to strengthen the Department of Homeland Security's role in addressing school violence, potentially turning schools into an extension of the national security system, The Intercept reports. The Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), was created in 1998 to examine threats to the president and security at complex public gatherings. Today, NTAC is “a multidisciplinary team of social science researchers” who assist “law enforcement, schools, government, and other public and private sector organizations to combat the ever-evolving threat of targeted violence,” according to its website. The NTAC, which is staffed by domestic security strategists who conduct school visits and staff training, mostly focuses on recognizing “behavioral” traits that its study associates with mass violence.


Last year alone, the NTAC touted some 331 training sessions, and it brags that over the last five years, it has trained hundreds of thousands of school administrators and teachers. The demand for its assistance, the Secret Service says, is thanks in part to NTAC publications regarding threats to schools. In its most recent report, “Improving School Safety Through Bystander Reporting,” the NTAC suggests schools encourage programs for students to report suspicious behavior, removing barriers that might impede any such tattletale reporting. Another NTAC study, “Averting Targeted School Violence: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Plots Against Schools,” studied nearly 70 averted attacks against schools, using demographic information to identify school shooters. Attributes tracked by NTAC include history of school discipline, contact with law enforcement, experience being bullied, mental health issues, alcohol and drug use, and the broadly defined psychological trauma “impacted by adverse childhood experiences.” NTAC stresses that the goal of school monitoring of students and its suggested “see something, say something” practice is successful intervention. It is the same framework created to deal with international terrorism and now expanded to thwart domestic “extremists” and government “insider threats.”

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