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In 2018, after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the state Legislature passed a number of measures to prevent similar attacks in the future and make schools safer. Among them was a law requiring public schools to conduct student threat assessments, a process through which district personnel analyze reports of potentially dangerous behavior and create a plan to intervene.

The threat assessment approach was pioneered by the Secret Service, which has endorsed it as a key tool for community violence intervention efforts. It’s difficult to measure the efficacy of these strategies, though: As The New Yorker reported last year, there’s no reliable way to count shootings that never happened, and implementation varies from place to place. Most research on school-based threat assessment has focused on tangential effects, like whether these programs support overall student well-being.

But now, a comprehensive analysis of Florida’s program concluded that the practice has been “widely, but not uniformly, successful” in preventing threats to safety. Researchers from the University of Virginia reviewed reports of more than 23,000 threat assessments conducted in Florida public schools during the 2021-2022 school year, Education Week reported, and found that students carried out just about 6 percent of threats recorded in the data, with 0.23 percent resulting in serious injuries. There were shortfalls: Some schools hadn’t fully trained staff before researchers collected data, and there were clear racial disparities in the students who were referred for assessment and the severity of their discipline. 

But “on a very large scale, we got good results,” Dewey Cornell, one of the report’s co-authors and a pioneer of school-based threat assessment, told Education Week. “What we hope to show in our future studies are the factors associated with good quality outcomes.”

What to Know Today

Supporters of Malcolm X have long contended that the government was involved in his 1965 assassination. Now, a man who says he witnessed the civil rights leader’s shooting death claims that the New York Police Department played a role in the killing. [Gothamist

It’s been one year since the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched its 988 hotline. Mental health experts say the three-digit number has made the lifeline more accessible than ever, but there are still challenges ahead. [KFF Health News

After the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last year, local art instructor Abel Ortiz wanted to find a way to honor his community and the lives of the children who were killed. Ortiz gathered a group of artists from across the state to help — and together, they transformed the city’s downtown. [FRONTLINE

The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded the judge who oversaw the six-month penalty trial for the Parkland shooter for showing bias toward the prosecution. The unanimous decision came after a state oversight agency found that the judge had violated several rules governing judicial conduct. [Associated Press

As many cities ditch ShotSpotter — a controversial gunshot-detection system — over concerns about its effectiveness, Baltimore County is launching a pilot program featuring the technology in two police precincts. The county’s contract with ShotSpotter is funded through federal American Rescue Plan dollars and not subject to the City Council’s approval. [The Baltimore Banner

In 1994, Chicago Police accused brothers Reginald Henderson and Sean Tyler of shooting and killing a man — an allegation they spent 25 years in prison fighting, finally finding success in 2021 when their murder convictions were overturned. In a new lawsuit, Henderson and Tyler say detectives framed them out of revenge and tortured them into falsely confessing to the crime. [Chicago Sun-Times

Philadelphia is suing three local gun stores for “repeatedly and unconscionably” selling guns to straw purchasers, according to the suit. The suit is the city’s latest attempt to supersede Pennsylvania’s weak gun laws through the courts. [The Philadelphia Inquirer/City of Philadelphia] Disclosure: Everytown Law is listed as co-counsel in Philadelphia’s lawsuit. Through its nonpolitical arm, Everytown provides grants to The Trace. You can find our donor transparency policy here, and our editorial independence policy here.

Data Point

1 in 3 — the proportion of threat assessments in Florida schools that resulted in students being referred to mental health services. [Education Week]