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Troubling behavior, by the book

Posted by: Jenna Ross Updated: January 21, 2011 - 9:48 AM

This morning's story, "Colleges balance security, scrutiny," notes that behavior intervention teams -- hundreds formed after Virginia Tech -- are getting a new look after the Tuscon shootings.

The national group for these teams, NaBITA, has an interesting  "threat assessment tool," that breaks students' aggression into levels. Here are a few examples, by category:


Hardening: This aggressor becomes distant and argumentative, demonstrating a lack of understanding and empathy.


Image destruction: This aggressor plants seeds of distrust with his/her intended victim's community.... In a college setting, this may involve attempts to embarrass students in class, flouting a resident advisor's authority, or instrumental vandalism in residence halls.


Threat strategies: This aggressor presents an ultimatum.... We could perceive a student aggrieved at the loss of an SGA election who lashes out at the winner as having stolen the election, or threatens that "no one will be President if I can't be the winner."


Win/lose attack: This aggressor may be prepared to give up his/her life for this cause but intends to survive.


Plunging together into the abyss: This aggressor does not intend to survive, and present with a profound disconnection from his/her own well-being. Detachment or dissociation results in a calm, methodical execution of his/her plan. The so-called "Thousand-Yard Stare" is one indication of this level of aggression.


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