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School And Workplace Safety Training Emphasizes Restorative Approach

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - A security expert says restorative practices can be used to identify and help individuals who may pose a safety risk in schools or the workplace.

"Really, what you're doing is you're helping people," Mark Concordia explained."You're intervening in this pathway very early to give them the help that they need, and that's really the success of this type of strategy."

Concordia, a certified threat manager and director of the Homeland Security and Applied Intelligence program at Roberts Wesleyan College, says there are ways to prevent violence early in the process before someone is expelled, fired, or arrested.

"You don't want to wait until the person is actually way down the pathway and they're researching and trying to get weapons or something of that nature," he said, "because law enforcement only has one tool at that point, and that's arrest."

Roberts Wesleyan's Justice and Security Institute is offering half and full-day training for schools and other organizations.  The training includes threat assessment and management strategies designed to prevent mass shootings and other acts of violence.

Threat assessment, Concordia emphasized, is not the same as profiling, but  a protocol to identify and respond to individuals who show certain risk factors and warning signs that may indicate the potential for violence.

The goal, once an individual is identified, is to try to help them, whether they are dealing with  a biological problem like addiction or a mental health or developmental disorder.

"It's really caretaking," Condordia said. "It's not only caretaking for the community in terms of its safety or for a particular individual who's targeted, it's caretaking for the individual who's posing a risk. You have to bring that person back to health; you have to increase their coping mechanisms."

The Justice and Security Institute is offering half and full day training for K-12 schools and businesses that want to set up an internal threat assessment team.

The institute has already worked with the Greece, Canandaigua, Spencerport, and Fairport school districts and is scheduled to train school districts in St. Lawrence County.

For additional information on the training program, email jsi@roberts.edu