Warning Signs

Outlined below are some warning signs to become aware of and look out for. If you have concerns or observe any of these warning signs, they should be discussed with the Threat Assessment Specialists.

Verbal Clues

  • Direct and indirect threats
  • Verbalizing a violent plan
  • Recurrent suicide threats or statements
  • Verbal wishes to kill, be killed or die
  • Threatens to bring weapon to school/work
  • Brags about having weapons
  • Threatening/harassing phone calls or e-mails
  • Statements of hopelessness
  • Bragging of violent behavior/fantasies
  • Challenging or intimidating statements
  • Excessive profanity (contextually inappropriate)
  • Name calling or abusive language

Bizarre Thoughts

  • Persecutory delusions with self as victim
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions in general
  • Command hallucinations
  • Grandiose delusions that involve power, control and/or destruction
  • Significantly deteriorated thought processes

Behavioral/Physical Cues

  • Physical altercation/assault upon others – frequent fighting
  • Inappropriate weapons possession or use
  • Writings/drawings with intense violent themes
  • Following/surveillance of targeted individuals
  • Short fuse, loss of emotional control
  • Bullying or victim of bullying
  • Deteriorating physical appearance/self care
  • Isolating and withdrawn
  • Signs or history of substance abuse/dependence
  • Signs of depression/severe mood swings
  • Inappropriate displays of emotion

Permission to publish and information taken from:
"School Violence Threat Management - A Practical Guide for Educators, Law Enforcement, and Mental Health Professionals" -- Kris Mohandie, Ph.D. Published by Specialized Training Services (An imprint of Specialized Training Services, Inc.), 9606 Tierra Grande, Suite 105, San Diego, CA 92126
Copyright c 2000 by Specialized Training Services Updated March, 2002. Second Printing.