Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

D.S.W. Social work


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Janice Gasker

Second Advisor

Dr. John Vafeas

Third Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Kremser


The sordid history of school shootings has changed the school environment and the education system forever. While school shootings are considered a rarity, violence in schools is not. Many entities and agencies work to create safety techniques, procedures, and protocols to keep all students safe, the goal of threat assessment teams is to prevent school violence while supporting the students. In many states, school social workers operate on the fringe of school safety and threat assessment teams. The purpose of this mixed-methods, descriptive study, was to assess the roles of school social workers on threat assessment teams through a researcher-generated anonymous questionnaire. The questionnaire was geared to high school principals and school social workers from Pennsylvania school districts and asked participants about their perceptions and familiarity of social work skills, services, and threat assessment teams. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to assess the compatibility and congruence of the threat assessment framework and school social work practice model, CSWE competencies, and elements of service. The study explored if perceptions affect school social workers’ participation, quality of participation, and impact on threat assessment teams. Lastly, it assessed if the presence of a social worker on a threat assessment team influenced the type of interventions used by the team.



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