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Avoiding Another Tragedy: Local program wins innovation award for school threat assessment


The School-based Threat Assessment program just received the Ohio Bar Association’s coveted Innovation Court Practices Award.

Created by John William, administrative judge for Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court System along with court psychologist Dr. Nicole Leisgang, the tool is designed to differentiate kids who were less likely to carry out a threat from those who are more likely to do so. Dr. Leisgang also designed treatments for each group.

Northwest Local Schools, for instance, used the program last school year to determine a student who had uttered a threat was a low risk for carrying it out. The student was treated then returned to school instead of ending up in the system.

Since the implementation of the program, Hamilton County has not seen a single case of school violence. There are now efforts to replicate Williams’ program in other counties across the country.