Potential Threats to the Community

NOTE: In cases where a student’s behavior poses an imminent threat to you or another, contact the University Police immediately at 304-696-HELP (4357).

While there is no single set of warning signs that will reliably predict behavior or campus violence, the assessment process looks for behavioral evidence that someone is planning or preparing to act out inappropriately or carry out some type of threat. Assessment will attempt to distinguish between threatening and non‐threatening cases in order to ensure the safety of the distressed person and any others potentially involved as well as to resolve concerns that initiated the inappropriate behavior.

Assessment assists in early identification of situations that may pose a threat to others, creates a baseline of information against which to assess future behavior, and provides a means for implementing interventions to increase the likelihood of a positive and safe resolution.

Some of the observed or known behaviors you might be able to observe include:


  • Has a history of being bullied or teased
  • Has history of bringing weapons to school
  • Known to abuse alcohol or to use illicit drugs
  • Prior suicide attempts and self-infliction of injuries
  • History of obsessively following or stalking others
  • Has experienced a recent life stressor or event
  • Has access to weapons


  • Appears to be a loner and reveals having no close friends
  • Refuses to communicate
  • Other students/staff/faculty are afraid of this student


  • Is brooding over an event in which he/she was perceived to be unfairly treated
  • Expresses unreasonable feelings of being persecuted by others
  • Does not show concern for legal or personal consequences
  • Appears to lack appropriate empathy or remorse
  • Is observed with signs of agitation (pacing, clenched fists, etc.)
  • Reveals feelings of depression, hopelessness, despair
  • Says they have no options or there is no way out for them
  • Appears suicidal
  • Has thought insertion, someone putting thoughts into their head
  • Auditory, command or visual hallucinations


    • Appears to have fascination with weapons or explosives
    • Is knowledgeable about or has used weapons
    • Identifies contingencies that would provoke an act
    • Has made recent threats to act out violently
    • Has provided evidence of making plans to act out violently, named a specific target for violence
    • Constantly blames others and refuses to take responsibility
    • Identifies with offenders, praises other school violence events
    • Engaged in property damage
    • Has threatening and/or loud speech/ disorganized speech
    • Is observed as maintaining prolonged stares
    • Diminished self-care (dirty, disheveled, poor hygiene)

Please note that many of these signs on their own do not indicate a potential threat, and may instead simply point to a student in distress who needs resources. It is the cumulation of multiple signs that could signify a potential threat to the community.