We brought teachers, school psychologists, counselors, school resources officers, administrators, police officers, therapists, and community advocates together with innovative, collaborative trainings.
Whether it be expanding our community threat assessment network or measuring knowledge increase in our workshops, the numbers don't lie. We saw increases as high in community involvement, knowledge of threat assessment principles, and confidence in school safety capabilities.
An issue as serious as school violence prevention requires serious expertise. We partnered with national-level threat assessment experts to maximize our training opportunities and guide our community team every step of the way.
Dr. Joe Holifield has been building towards his vision of safer schools and communities through B-HARP since 2019. Informed by the Salem Keiser Cascade Model and research performed by the United States Secret Service, he envisioned a San Luis Obsipo County where the separate "silos" of educators, mental health professionals, and law enforcement members share information, action and expertise, increasing their capacity to identify, assess, and manage risk of serious school violence.
B-HARP's established project period was 2019-2023. After 4 years of tracking and reporting progress, the program has met or exceeded its main goals, which you can read about below. We brought together professionals from the largest school districts in San Luis Obispo County to hone their skills, foster collaboration, and establish threat assessment systems that fit this community. The Level 2 Threat Consultation Team met regularly and tested their protocols with real cases. Committing to collaboration throughout this pilot project led to groundbreaking recommendations and changes in the education, mental health, and law enforcement institutions in San Luis Obispo County that are now being shared nationally.
What good is learning skills if you cannot practice them? B-HARP held 22 trainings over 4 years that provided realistic threat assessment simulations and measured the improvement of participants with an innovative pre/post training survey mechanism. No matter the school district, law enforcement agency, or mental heath organization, we saw improvement in knowledge and skill each training.
School districts, mental health organizations, and law enforcement agencies entered the program with differing personnel, policies, and protocols and through gained access to standardized resources and protocols through the Level 2 Consultation Team. Engagement, interagency collaboration, and requests for presentations more than doubled over the project period.
We developed an in-person training program specially for local teachers and staff, educating them on their essential role in identifying concerning behaviors. After each training, teachers knowledge of threat assessment principles and BTAM significantly increased. This was supplemented with student-made videos, where SLO High's Video Productions Class crafted PSAs geared towards educating their peers on safety resources.
We conducted one pilot training specifically for therapists and mental health providers, and refined our program with an additional event under STAMP. These trainings created measured improvements in opinions about Tarrasoff Reporting and working with school threat assessment teams, and enhanced knowledge of behavioral warning signs. To help SLO County benefit from these new skills, B-HARP gathered important information about building a community threat assessment system that integrates private and public mental health providers.
In October of 2021 B-HARP was granted additional funding from the San Luis Obispo Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). This Mini Grant was allocated to the project due to its previous success and potential for expansion into other populations in the community, leading to the first B-HARP Adult Training. Venturing beyond K-12 Threat Assessment, this innovative event was tailored to teaching threat assessment practices in the workplace, institutes of higher education, and the community at large.
Holifield Psychological Services is partnering with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office and Tulare County Office of Education to expand on B-HARP's success with the School Threat Assessment and Management Project (STAMP). STAMP is quickly building on B-HARP's foundation and more information will be available soon. Read more about STAMP and contact Dr. Joe Holifield here.