Dr. Melissa Reeves, a nationally certified school psychologist, licensed special education teacher, licensed clinical mental health counselor and former district coordinator of social/emotional/behavioral services, will present a program as part of a Department of Homeland Security grant program, according to an advisory

She’ll speak March 15, 2024, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Burlington Township High School Performing Arts Center, 610 Fountain Ave., Burlington, at a program hosted by the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning.

During her talk, she’ll focus on the state of behavioral threat assessment and management in schools, highlighting best practices for a defensible process and special education considerations. She will share current research, recommendations and lessons learned from previous threat assessment cases in schools.

Her presentation will emphasize the critical importance of establishing multidisciplinary threat assessment teams and how to address the systemic barriers that complicate information sharing, documentation and follow-up planning and support. Additionally, she’ll discuss the importance of addressing bias, equity and disproportionality within the behavioral threat assessment and management process and special considerations necessary to ensure threat assessment processes do not violate special education protocols and procedures.

Workshop participants will:

  • Learn critical components needed to have a legally defensible behavioral threat assessment and management process.
  • Learn strategies that increase equity while decreasing bias and disproportionality.
  • Learn the clear distinction between threat assessment and suicide risk assessment.
  • Discuss special considerations to be considered when conducting threat assessments with students with disabilities or suspected of having a disability.
  • Understand the clear distinction, yet complementary aspects, between threat assessment and special education policies and procedures.
  • Learn how IDEA, 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II “Direct Threat Standard” intersect with threat assessment and the considerations needed to ensure districts are complying with federal law.
  • Be provided best practice guidance regarding parent permission versus notification, information sharing, discipline, and change in programming and/or placement decisions.
  • Be provided recommendations for improving the fidelity of implementation of the behavioral threat assessment and management process.

There is no fee to attend this presentation, but space is limited, and registration is required. Please register here.

School safety specialists will receive training hours for attending this workshop.

Questions can be directed to the NJDOE’s Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning via email.