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Tip of the Week: Implementing the NABITA Standards for BITs (Part VII)

NABITA membership has more than doubled over the last year. To help new members implement the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), and to provide continuing members with a refresher, NABITA is launching a Tip of the Week series specifically focused on the BIT Standards. Twenty standards, twenty Tips of the Week (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).

Standard 8. Team Scope: Teams address concerning behavior among students, faculty/staff, affiliated members (parents, alumni, visitors, etc.) and should work in conjunction with appropriate law enforcement and human resource agencies when needed.

The scope, or who the BIT assesses and intervenes with, can and should reach beyond only actively enrolled students. Additionally, the scope should expand beyond behaviors that occur on the physical geography of the campus, including behaviors off-campus and in the virtual/online environment. Beyond the individuals the BIT serves, the BIT should identify the scope for the type of referrals they address. As outlined in our Tip of the Week regarding Standard 5: Team Membership, scope directly impacts BIT membership. For example, human resources should be represented on the BIT if the team’s scope includes responding to employees of concern.

The BIT scope will vary depending on each institution’s unique needs. NABITA recommends that institutions “define how they will address concerns within the broader [institutional] community. This can include: full and part-time students, online students, previously enrolled students, prospective students, faculty/staff, and other community members such as partners of students, parents[/guardians], returning alumni, and those who frequent school services and locations such as the health center, library, camps, or sporting venues.”[1]

Practical tip – BITs should take time to intentionally discuss each group of individuals with whom the institution interacts (e.g., current students, former students, prospective students, faculty, staff, contractors, visitors, parents/guardians) and determine if the group falls within their scope. If the BIT determines that a particular group does not fall within its scope, it should clearly articulate why, make this information known, and have a plan in place for referral to other response mechanisms in the inevitable event that a referral is received about an individual or group outside of the BIT scope. What will the BIT do when it has received such a referral? BIT leadership will likely need to coordinate with other institutional and community resources and agencies (e.g., human resources, public safety, free mental health services) to develop procedures for how the BIT will connect the referred individual of concern to a more appropriate resource and whether there will or should be any follow-up information shared with the BIT.

Tim Cason, M.Ed.

Consultant, TNG

[1] NaBITA. (2018). NaBITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams [White paper]. Access here.