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School districts share how they identify, help students who may pose a risk to others

Austin and Hutto school leaders talk about what they look for and how they help students who may need assistance or may pose a risk to others.

AUSTIN, Texas — Failing grades, truancy, and bullying were all problems the Robb Elementary School shooter may have faced, according to the Texas House committee on the Robb Elementary School shooting.

KVUE sat down with some local districts to see how they identify students who may pose a risk to themselves or others. Staff at Austin and Hutto ISDs shared what warning signs there may be.

“We look for when students may withdraw, or if they’re not participating in their groups,” said AISD High School Secondary Counseling Coordinator Shakira Hamilton-Adams. 

Dr. Robert Sormani, Hutto ISD assistant superintendent for instruction and innovation, said speaking of violence could be another sign.

“School shooters, sometimes they fantasize about violence, they’ll talk about committing violent acts to their friends," Sormani said.

RELATED: 'Systemic failures' in Uvalde shooting went far beyond local police, Texas House report details

Hamilton-Adams said they then bring kids into the counselor's office. 

“We don't provide therapy for the student, what we do is, we see what the needs are. And we look to find out if there are other resources that may be available," Hamilton-Adams said. 

At Hutto ISD, they can provide some level of therapy to the student.

“We’re up to seven licensed professional counselors who are licensed in being able to provide therapy,” said Sormani. 

In both districts, parents must consent to any therapy services or referrals. At Hutto ISD, they offer therapy through licensed professional counselors. Licensed mental health professionals at AISD can provide short-term counseling.

RELATED: 'All options remain on the table' | Gov. Abbott hasn't yet announced special legislative session following Uvalde shooting

“We can’t make anyone take us up on the request to get services, but we inform,” said Hamilton-Adams.

So it’s on the parents whether to accept the help for their child. In some cases, if a parent is neglectful, child protective services can get involved. Hamilton-Adams said when a student poses a threat to other people, they may choose to get the police involved.

These checkpoints are ways districts choose to take a preventative approach to potential violence. But they both provide care for students who are in need of help and do not necessarily pose a risk to other students.

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