Illinois Legislation Will Ensure ALL Illinois Schools Comply With Secret Service Threat Assessment Model


The current State of Illinois Legislature is pursuing a bill that would make compliance with the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center's School Threat Assessment Model state law for Illinois schools. 

The National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) was established as a component of the Secret Service in 1998 to provide research and guidance in direct support of the Secret Service protective mission, and to others with public safety responsibilities.

The center’s staff is composed of a multidisciplinary team of social science researchers and regional program managers who support and empower Secret Service partners in law enforcement, schools, government, and other public and private sector organizations to combat the ever evolving threat of targeted violence impacting communities across the United States.

Meet the Secret Service NTAC Team

Dr. Lina Alathari is the Chief of the National Threat Assessment Center

                                Dr. Lina Alathari | Secret Service Photo

Dr. Alathari oversees the center’s targeted violence behavioral research program. Dr. Alathari earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuropsychology from The George Washington University.

The findings from these projects have identified behaviors, motives, and triggers of individuals who engage in various forms of targeted violence to include school violence, workplace violence, terrorism, attacks against government officials and facilities, and mass attacks in public spaces.

Dr. Alathari also oversees NTAC’s training and consultation programs. She has testified before congress, frequently presents on threat assessment, and provides guidance to government agencies, K-12 schools, universities, and corporations on threat cases and establishing threat assessment programs.

Dr. Alathari was named a 2020 Safety, Security and International Affairs Finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, and was the recipient of the 2019 Secret Service Director’s Team Impact Award, the 2019 DHS Secretary’s Meritorious Service Award, and the 2015 DHS Law Enforcement Information Sharing (LEIS) Visionary Award. Dr. Alathari's previous experience includes mental health treatment, behavior analysis, and crisis intervention. Immediately prior to joining the U.S. Secret Service, Dr. Alathari worked at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, an inpatient state psychiatric facility, where she oversaw the behavior management program for patients who posed a risk for violence, self-harm, and suicide.

Diana Drysdale, M.A. - Supervisory Social Science Research Specialist

Steven Driscoll, M.Ed. - Supervisory Social Science Research Specialist

Ashley Blair, M.A. - Lead Social Science Research Specialist

David Mauldin, M.S.W. - Social Science Research Specialist

Arna Carlock, Ph.D. - Social Science Research Specialist

Jeffrey McGarry, M.A. - Social Science Research Specialist

Aaron Cotkin, Ph.D. - Social Science Research Specialist

Jessica Nemet, M.A. - Social Science Research Specialist

Brianna Johnston, M.A. - Social Science Research Specialist

Natalie Vineyard, M.S. - Social Science Research Specialist

Chris Foley, M.S.S.W. - Assistant to The Special Agent In-Charge - NTAC

Peter Langman, Ph.D. - Psychologist and Author

RAND Corporation - Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center

Michael Kapuscinski - Domestic Security Strategist (NTAC Region-1)

Katie Lord - Domestic Security Strategist (NTAC Region-2)

Lisa Domier - Domestic Security Strategist (NTAC Region-3)

Arlene Macias - Domestic Security Strategist (NTAC Region-4)

The Secret Service NTAC Team headed by Dr. Alathari wrote two other publications prior to this in 2019:

Protecting America's Schools (PDF File) 

The second publication is Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model: An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence (PDF File).

Now, compliance with these NTAC guidelines are more than likely going to become Illinois law.

Karen Ann Cullotta reported for The Chicago Tribune on December 15th, 2021,"In addition, the law directs Illinois school districts to review their school building emergency and crisis response plans, and to include mental health professionals as well as law enforcement agencies on their assessment teams. While officials said they hope Illinois school districts are already strictly following the law, they have no oversight system in place or data to detect if any districts are failing to comply with the requirements."

Illinois state Rep. Fred Crespo and Representative Tony McCombie are sponsoring this bill. "The new legislation aims to ensure all of the state’s school districts are complying with state school safety laws", Cullotta reported.

This legislation would amend the 2019 School Threat Assessment Bill otherwise known as Public Act 101-0455 (HB !561) which went into effect August 26th, 2019.

The summary of Public Act 101-0455 reads as follows: 
Amends the School Safety Drill Act. Requires all school boards of school districts to develop threat assessment protocols and to create threat assessment teams. Provides that the threat assessment team shall include specified personnel and other members. Provides that a threat assessment protocol adopted by the school board shall be a public document and be posted on the school district's website. Provides that a school board shall create the threat assessment team within 30 days after the effective date of the amendatory Act and adopt an initial threat assessment protocol within 90 days after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Provides that a school district may share information concerning a clear and present danger with another school district and creates a conforming exemption in the Illinois School Student Records Act. Creates exemptions for the work of the threat assessment team in the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Effective immediately.

This reporter was in the Secret Service press conference for the release of the 2021 Averting Targeted School Violence report. This reporter asked Dr. Alathari if the Secret Service had ever assigned Agents to interview the school plotters mentioned in their 2021 Averting Targeted School Violence report. Alathari stated that none of the plotters were ever interviewed. Alathari did not say why interviews were never completed.

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