School Shooters: Who Are They and How Can They Be Identified?
Ever since the attack at Columbine High School in 1999, school safety has been a national concern. The ongoing
occurrence of school shootings is a critical issue for professionals in mental health because they are often in positions to assist with maintaining safety. Knowing the warning signs of impending violence is essential for psychologists in public schools, college counseling centers, private practice, and other settings, so that they can identify potential perpetrators before there is a mass attack. Similarly, administrators and policy-makers need to be educated in best practices regarding threat assessment and the prevention of school shootings.
Dr. Peter Langman is a psychologist whose research on school shooters has received international recognition. His book, Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters, was named an Outstanding Academic Title and was translated into German, Dutch, and Finnish. His work has been cited in congressional testimony on Capitol Hill and he has been interviewed by the New York Times, The Today Show, 20/20, Nightline, Fox, CNN, the BBC, and over 350 other news outlets in the USA, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. After the Sandy Hook attack, the CEO of the American Psychological Association presented Dr. Langman’s recommendations on school safety to President Obama. He has presented at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, been hired by Homeland Security to train professionals in the United States, and recruited by the State Department to speak to international audiences. He maintains the largest online collection of materials relating to school shooters at schoolshooters.info, including over 400 documents totaling 60,000 pages. His latest book is School Shooters: Understanding High School, College, and Adult Perpetrators.
8:00 AM - Registration and Coffee
8:25 AM - Welcome and Introduction
8:30 AM - Misconceptions and Stereotypes
Three Psychological Types of Shooters
10:00 AM - BREAK
10:15 AM - Body-Related Issues and Damaged Masculinity
Social Failures and Their Impact
11:45 AM - Lunch
12:45 PM - Threat Assessment, Lessons Learned from Arapahoe High School
Leakage, Threats, Attack-Related Behavior
2:15 PM - BREAK
2:30 PM - Common Themes in School Shooters' Writings
Group Activity: Review Writing Samples
4:00 PM - Closing
At the conclusion of this program, attendees will be able to:
1. Refute common misconceptions about school shooters.
2. Describe the three psychological categories of school shooters.
3. Explain body-related issues and damaged masculinity.
4. Identify three common domains of social failure among school shooters.
5. Explain the process of threat assessment.
6. Explain the terms “leakage,” threats,” and “attack-related behavior.”
The Pennsylvania Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PPA maintains responsibility for this program
and its content.
Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors in Pennsylvania can receive continuing education from continuing education providers approved by the American
Psychological Association. Since the Pennsylvania Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education, licensed social workers,
licensed clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors will be able to fulfill their continuing education requirements by attending PPA
continuing education programs.
Financial Disclosure: No conflicts of interest have been identified for the speaker.