Analyzing dozens of attacks, new report says school shooters show warning signs

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A new report by the U.S. Secret Service is aiming to get into the minds of mass shooters in schools and uncover what could be key warning signs.

The new report by Secret Service’s National Assessment Center reviewed more than 40 school attacks over the last 9 years at K-12 schools.

Their findings revealed most students who committed these deadly school attacks were either bullied or had history of disciplinary trouble or strange behavior that went unreported.

“If they are isolating themselves from others, if they are truant from school, or getting frequently suspended because of violence kinds of situations, it would be important to connect with that child, make sure they have the right support in place to get them to the place they need to be,” said Dr. Simone Moody, a clinical psychologist at Children’s Mercy in Overland Park.

Moody has practiced clinical psychology for 7 years and said ignored warning signs can have serious impact on children and teenagers.

She agreed with the report that some of these instances could have been prevented.

“Number one, if you’re feeling like a child is at risk and isolating themselves, it’s important for parents, teachers, other members of the community to try and connect with them," Moody said.

"Really make that connection so you can hear what they are saying, see what they are doing and be more aware about any violence they may be reporting."

Despite the findings in the report, there’s still no clear profile of a school attacker, though the researchers believe some details stand out.

Moody said recognizing these signs could help save a life, and this new report is a step in the right direction.

The information obtained from the research will help train school officials and law enforcement on how to better identify students who may be planning an attack and how to stop them before they strike.

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