NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Middle Tennessee school district is highlighted in a national study conducted by the Secret Service for preemptive measures taken to stop a student from coming on campus with a gun.
Todd Hudson, Special Agent in Charge of Secret Service Nashville Field Office, explained the agency pioneered the art of threat assessment in the late 90s.
“It’s critically important work for us. But, this is also information that needs to reach the appropriate people in these communities, in the schools, in these districts,” he said.
The department distributed more than 40,000 copies nationwide of research gleaned by the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center in hopes of helping schools in thwarting threats.
“A lot of the information and the strategies that you see in this operational guide are bleeding over from the work that we do every day,” said Hudson.
Hudson pulled several studies dating back decades and explained what the data shows.
“This one here is protecting America’s schools,” he pointed out. It was produced in 2019 and reviews 41 school attacks that happened in grades K through 12.
“We looked at the behaviors and the characteristics of the attackers.” He continued, “And push that out to the different school districts across the country, so that they can incorporate the information we found in this study into those threat assessment teams.”
In 2021, the agency offered up “Averting Targeted School Violence”, a playbook of prevention tactics that can be implemented based on a school’s needs.
“It’s proven successful. 67 cases where plots have been prevented are highlighted in this study, and it includes a Middle Tennessee counselor.”
He added, “Because of the empathy, the care, and the professionalism of this particular person, this particular counselor, she sat down with the troubled student, and she was able to negotiate him to give up the weapon, and it had a successful resolution.”
The agency also offers free training to school districts to ensure what they know as Secret Service agents isn’t kept secret from those who need the information the most.
“We want to make sure that this information is falling into the right hands, and it’s being utilized properly, and that is in hopes that we prevent any future attacks,” said Hudson.
All of their findings are available to the public.