SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Dozens of educational leaders attended a workshop on what the State of Utah considers the gold standard in threat assessment protocol on Wednesday.

Forensic clinical psychologist Dr. Dewey Cornell said the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has educators thinking more about school safety. 

“It’s a very sensitive and difficult topic,” said Dr. Cornell. 

Dr. Cornell created his evidence-based decision-making model called the comprehensive school threat assessment, after working with the FBI and Secret Service. A large portion of Wednesday’s training involved the implementation of the model, including examples of cases and how districts handled those cases. 

“There are cases that I had personal experience with. Others were cases that I studied,” said Cornell.

The five-step model allows districts to quickly evaluate threats and determine what type of intervention is needed. 

“Really, what threat assessment is about is providing support and programs for students in need,” said Cornell. 

Murray City School District Superintendent Jennifer Covington brought more than 30 school administrators to Wednesday’s training. Covington said she likes how the program focuses on a team problem-solving approach. 

“It doesn’t blame students. It doesn’t label students,” said Covington. 

Covington admitted the stakes have never been higher and finding that balance can be terrifying. 

“It’s hard to think of that heavy responsibility that you have when you’re protecting students, but you’re also worried about your own safety,” said Covington. 

But having a basic framework and a team dedicated to finding solutions is a step in the right direction. 

“Every student deserves to have a space and a place where they feel safe at our school,” said Covington.