Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Karen Card


Student safety is a priority of administrators today and schools use a variety of threat assessment protocols to reduce potential violence in schools. Risk factors and crisis planning are essential components in building effective school safety plans. Research on mass school shootings identifies practices that when used appropriately may serve as a warning for future acts of violence. This descriptive quantitative study examined South Dakota school superintendents’ perceptions of threat assessment. This study also sought to identify barriers to effective threat assessments. The results of this research study show that superintendents in South Dakota view threat assessments as important. Superintendents also perceive their threat assessment models as effective. The only threat assessment procedure that did not have a relationship between importance and effectiveness was to intervene to reduce the risk of potential violence (rho=.195, p=.067). Therefore, superintendents indicated that the importance of intervening to reduce potential violence is extremely important, yet their threat assessment plans were identified as very effective. This demonstrates a weak correlation of importance and effectiveness in this area. Most superintendents surveyed conveyed that they use some sort of threat assessment procedures noting that time and training were considered the largest obstacles to implementation. The study also revealed the desire of South Dakota superintendents to have a model threat assessment that they could use or administer.

Subject Categories

Educational Leadership


Superintendents, Threat assessment

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota