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Implementing the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (Part I)

By Tim Cason, M.Ed., Consultant, TNG

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the Week (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).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 1. Define BIT: Behavioral Intervention Teams are small groups of school officials who meet regularly to collect and review concerning information about at-risk community members and develop intervention plans to assist them.

Standard 2. Prevention vs. Threat Assessment: Schools have an integrated team that addresses early intervention cases as well as threat assessment cases.

BITs meet regularly with the goal of reducing information silos across the institution and connecting individuals of concern with the necessary resources to be successful and safe within the institutional community. Schools will often implement several different committees and/or teams to address a variety of incidents. Critical Incident Response Teams, Campus Community Response Teams, Threat Assessment Teams, and similar teams are often established to examine trends, assess climate, and provide institutional coordination in response to critical incidents that often affect a larger portion of the institutional community (i.e., bias-related incidents). In contrast, BITs are often focused on individuals. Standard 8 discusses BIT scope. When schools have other teams in addition to the BIT, information sharing between teams is critical for the assessment and intervention process for the individuals impacted by a critical incident.

NABITA recommends incorporating threat assessment/violence risk assessment into the overall BIT/CARE team structure rather than having separate teams.  “This collaborative effort reduces the silo-effect, simplifies marketing and advertising, ensures inclusive training, and streamlines database management. It reduces duplication of efforts often found when maintaining two separate teams, creating greater simplicity in advertising to the larger community and keeping those involved in early identification and prevention working closely with those trained in violence risk and threat assessment/management. If a school uses a split model, there should be some overlap in team membership to ensure good communication across teams.” [1]

Practical tip – For institutions with multiple teams, there should be an overlap in team membership to maintain lines of communication and ensure effective identification of at-risk community members in the midst of a larger-scale incident. Establishing a protocol for record management and/or database access will be key to maintaining open lines of communication.

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

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