The media often states after a shooting that there are many instances where individuals realize that there were clues of violent acts coming. Sometimes we assume a student would never harm anyone and may just be frustrated and blowing off steam. The question is whether or not that is your prerogative to decide. We can no longer sit silently hoping that nothing will happen. None of us can tell if it truly is an immediate danger and others should be involved in looking at the situation to determine the risk of bloodshed.

The problem is that in some places laws prevent therapists from going to administrators or authorities when a students states something within a session. Colorado currently has a proposed bill that would open up how mental health professionals may report information about a student that they believe may pose a threat. Current law requires that they alert authorities if there is a specific and imminent threat. If this is evident then they must warn those being threatened. This proposed legislation would also grant therapists the ability to tell school officials about possible danger in their building. It would not have to be imminent, but possible threat stated. This law would apply to all public, private, and all post secondary institutions. Federal laws already allow school district counselors some ability to report things, but often times, school districts have outside contracts that do not permit these individuals to have the same power.

School therapists must talk about this issue ahead of time. Know what your rights are before you need them and check into what the legal requirements are in your specific state and how federal laws may pertain to each individual working with students should a threat potential surface.