The Averted School Violence (ASV) reporting system, developed with support from the COPS Office, will allow law enforcement officers, school personnel, and mental health professionals to share “close calls” in order to improve school safety and prevent tragedies.
Our mission is to encourage individuals to share their stories and lessons learned from averted school violence incidents in order to prevent future injuries and fatalities in educational institutions. The lessons learned can be used to inform future school policy and safety procedures. Sharing your story is an anonymous, secure, non-punitive, and confidential process.
We encourage individuals to submit averted school violence cases, in which loss of life and or injury were completely prevented. In reviewing cases for inclusion in the database we look for means, opportunity, motive and intent to carry out targeted school violence. Incidents of violence on school grounds not related to the school (e.g., gang-related violence) and social media threats not deemed credible by law enforcement are excluded from the database.
We will additionally analyze this data in comparison with incidents of school violence that were carried out: to identify similarities and differences between potential and actual shooters, situations, and effective/less effective preventative measures. We collect averted school violence incidents at all grade levels, from elementary schools to college and graduate programs. Incidents in our database include shootings, stabbings, and bombings that the attacker planned to carry out on school property. For the purposes of our database, we only collect cases that occurred in the United States after the Columbine tragedy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is this reporting system anonymous?
The Averted School Violence technology platform ensures reports cannot be traced back to the report submitter through his or her computer’s IP Address. Furthermore, a panel of school violence and law enforcement subject matter experts reviews each submitted report and permanently deletes identifying information of any involved person in the incident. For those incident reports that were created by Police Foundation staff using open source information, we do list the open source documents or links from which we obtained the information. While we still refrain from using identifying information of involved persons, some of those open source documents or links contain identifying information that has since been released after the averted attack and /or court proceedings.
If there is a concern that an agency is tracking this information, we recommend that incidents be reported from a personal laptop/personal desktop system.
How long does it take to submit a report?
On average, it takes 30 minutes to complete a report. This estimate can increase depending on the complexity of the case, availability of relevant information, and the level of detail the submitter is willing to provide.
What if an individual from the same organization has already submitted information about this incident?
Through the www.avertedschoolviolence.org reporting system, we are looking for individual and agency level interpretations of averted school violence incidents as well as the lessons that each submitter may have learned in the situation. We recommend that submitters submit any incident in which there has been a lesson learned and school personnel, law enforcement officers, and mental health professionals can learn from it, even if it is possible someone else may have already submitted it. Our data collection system will flag incidents that occurred on the same date, and a reviewer will determine if the two incidents are the same. If they are the same, we will either merge the case details and lessons learned to create one document, or publish each report on the site under a single incident name.
What if an organization has a policy that prohibits personnel from sharing incident information regardless of the status of the incident?
www.asvnearmiss.org is strictly a voluntary program. We rely on individuals who want to share their experiences to help other school personnel, law enforcement officers, and mental health professionals learn. If the incident has been highly publicized such that it is likely the submitter could be identified, we will either remove any details that could help individuals identify the submitter and or organization, or we will not post the details, and instead combine them with the collection of reports on the types of incidents and lessons learned. In fact, the submitter can provide only the lessons learned and or recommendations if they feel more comfortable omitting all case details.
How quickly will a report be posted on the www.avertedschoolviolence.org website?
Reports will usually be posted within two weeks, unless they require more extensive review.
Are all incidents that are submitted actually posted to the site?
Each report goes through a thorough vetting and de-identification process. This process usually takes about two weeks. If there is any risk that an incident could be linked to a specific individual, organization, or case that must remain anonymous, it will not be posted or made publicly available. To the extent that we can share the lesson learned without providing enough detail to compromise this, we will include the information. It may also be that one of the experts from our review panel tried to contact the submitter for necessary clarification or additional information, and that submitter has not responded. In such cases, we will not be able to post the report until the submitter can clarify the information needed to post the report.
Do incidents need to be uploaded in one sitting?
Submitters have a two-hour window to complete a report once initiated before the system will time out. If at all possible, submitters should try to ensure a window of 30 minutes is available before beginning a report so that it can be completed in one sitting.
Do individuals need to include all of the details of the incident?
Any information submitters can provide will be helpful to the extent that this helps to illustrate a “lesson learned” or offer a “tip” for others. The system allows submitters to skip any questions by jumping ahead to those questions that are most appropriate and/or the submitter is willing or able to answer.
What happens to the reports that are submitted to www.avertedschoolviolence.org?
After being vetted and de-identified by a panel of authorized law enforcement and school violence subject matter experts, the incident reports get published and posted to www.avertedschoolviolence.org. This usually occurs in about five days, but could take as long as two weeks in some instances. The library of shared reports can be an invaluable training and informational resource. Reports will be analyzed to identify trends, emerging hazards, lessons learned, and to inform academic research and school policy. The analyses will ultimately be published on the site.
Who has access to the www.avertedschoolviolence.org reporting system?
The site is public, but we encourage school personnel, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers to submit incidents of averted school violence into the system. Incidents are additionally vetted for validity.
Who can access the library of reports?
The library of published reports is publicly available.