This page of the College Safety and Security Toolkit concerns Behavioral Intervention Teams.
According to the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NABITA), a behavioral intervention team (BIT) is a cross-campus team that meets regularly to detect “red flags” in student or group behavior over time.
The team collaborates, collects information, identifies risks, and intervenes when appropriate to protect people from harming themselves or others.
Behavioral Intervention Teams use a proactive approach that balances the needs of the student who may be in crisis and the overall safety of the campus community.
To be successful, Behavioral Intervention Teams must have cabinet-level support and oversight.
Behavioral Intervention Team membership is based on the position, not the individual.
The National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, identifies three main groups of members for a BIT: core members, inner and middle circle members, and outer circle members. Team members should have the necessary experience or expertise to bring significant value to the team.
An administrator or higher-level member of the cabinet should serve as chair.
Core members — mandatory attendance
Core members are required to attend meetings and often include representatives from:
- Campus safety and security
- Student conduct (often the vice president for student services/affairs)
- Housing and residential life
- Case managers
- Human resources or academic administration
Inner circle members
Inner circle members are generally at every meeting and represent a constituency that is critical to the team.
- Academic affairs
- Health services
- Vice president for student services/affairs
- Faculty representative
- Human resources
- Student activities
- Legal counsel
Middle circle members
Middle circle members are invited when they may have insight into a smaller constituent group. Examples include:
- ADA coordinator
- Financial aid administrator
- Athletics staff member
- Community mental health staff (for example a psychiatrist or counselor)
- Title IX administrator
- Risk manager
- Veterans affairs employee
- Multicultural affairs staff
- First-year programs coordinator
- Student success and achievement staff
Outer circle members
Outer circle members do not attend meetings, but they are kept in the loop when the BIT needs to reach out to the student or a related party. Examples include:
- General faculty members
- Administrative staff and support staff
- Deans, assistant and associate deans
- Academic advisors
- Coaches and assistant coaches
- Student organization advisors
- Family members of the reported person
- Friends of the reported person
Law enforcement as adhoc members
The Safety Security and Emergency Management Council also recommends including, as needed, local law enforcement officers as adhoc members. These officers may be able to provide:
- Access to information and resources
- More robust assessment of the individual
- Subject matter expertise
- Knowledge of behavior outside of college
Possible obstacles to involving local law enforcement as adhoc members:
- Lack of knowledge about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- The possibility that the officer might be required to act by law or department policy
Team scope of work
According to the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, a BIT:
- Receives reports of disruptive, problematic, or concerning and/or disruptive behavior by students, faculty/staff and community members. (Reports may come from co-workers, community members, friends, colleagues, etc.)
- Conducts an inquiry/investigation
- Performs a threat assessment
- Determines the best mechanisms for support, intervention, warning/notification and response
- Deploys its resources, and the resources of the community, and coordinates follow-up
Individual scope of work
Each Behavioral Intervention Team member must understand his/her scope of work within the context of team's responsibilities. Typically, a member's scope of work mirrors the normal job function.
Behavioral Intervention Teams make recommendations, but do not dictate the actions of individual departments.
According to the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, most BIT teams meet once a week or twice a month and have a set meeting time (e.g., Tuesdays at 3 p.m.). These meetings are generally 60–90 minutes in length. If a core member of the team cannot attend, he or she should name a proxy.
Emergency BIT meetings may be necessary.
When there are no cases to discuss, that time should be used for professional development, to conduct tabletop exercises, and to review procedures and processes.
SSEMC recommends the following resources from the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association website.
Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams
NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams outlines 20 core standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams.
NABITA sells books that dive into deeper detail.
Assessing the level of threat
- An initial assessment: The NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool helps Behavioral Intervention Teams classify an individual's level of risk: mild, moderate, elevated, severe or extreme. For more help using the threat assessment, refer to NaBITA's supplement, 20 Questions: A Supplemental Flowchart for the NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool.
- For those at elevated risk: The Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35) serves as a starting place for Behavioral Intervention Teams to conduct a more standardized, research-based violence risk assessment.
The NaBITA website offers many additional free resources, including white papers and training handouts.
The Safety, Security, and Emergency Management Council recommends QPR Institute, a website dedicated to suicide-prevention training. QPR stands for "question, persuade, refer."
Behavioral Intervention Teams Teams must create an online process for people to report concerning behavior Here is a sample BIT referral form from South Puget Sound Community College.
After reviewing a report, a BIT member should contact the reporting party. Shoreline Community College explains the process to web visitors this way:
The Care Team approach seeks to connect students to the proper department(s) that will provide the best resource(s). Care reports are reviewed during normal business hours by people who are trained to assess and act. The Care Team conducts an initial assessment on every report. In many cases, the outcome of the initial assessment is simply to offer support and resources to either the individual who reports the concern, the person of concern, or both.
We will collaborate with the person making the report and with other campus and community resources, if appropriate. In some cases, a more in-depth analysis may occur before the Care Team can determine next steps of intervention. The reporting party will be kept informed, as appropriate, of the situation while mindful of the privacy of all parties involved.
If there is a concern for safety, the Care Team can help those who report to contact the appropriate on- and off-campus support and resources. While maintaining privacy is the Care Team’s goal, please be aware that reports and other communication may be subject to review as outlined in federal and state laws. The campus does not tolerate retaliation.
If there is a potential threat, the Care Team provides guidance and recommendations to the appropriate individuals to mitigate or manage the threat. The Care Team retains all reported information to assist in identifying potential behavioral patterns.
Database for record management
Records should be securely kept and managed by database software that enables longitudinal tracking of student conduct over time to assess trends and patterns. Maxient is just one example of this type of software. (This does not constitute an endorsement by the State Board for Community or Technical Colleges or the Safety and Security Emergency Management Council.)
Behavioral Intervention Teams respond to concerning behavior in several ways, based on the level of threat and college protocols. Actions may include:
- Establishing baseline behavior
- Reaching out to the student to express concern and ask about his/her wellbeing
- Meeting with the student(s) involved to discuss:
Campus and community services
College expectations/ Student Code of Conduct
- Referring the student to campus programs and services (counseling, financial aid, disability support, tutoring etc.)
- Referring the student to community resources
- Referring the student to the Vice President of Student Services/Affairs for disciplinary action
- Facilitating a meeting between concerned parties
- Recommending counseling or other outside interventions.
- Voluntary/involuntary removal from campus
- Notifying outside partners (police department, other institutions, student's next-of-kin) in high priority cases, when the student is considered an imminent threat to self or others
Follow-up actions may include:
- Establishing return criteria with the Vice President for Student Services/Affairs.
- Coordinating support services.
- Establishing behavioral expectations.
- Verifying continuity of care.
The intake process must have a "triage" component to determine whether referrals clearly rise to the level of a Behavioral Intervention Team inquiry/investigation. Not all referrals result in actionable outcomes. Some referrals will be for information purposes only.
The Behavioral Intervention Team coordinator/manager should be trained in BIT and able to triage referrals.
Be cautious that day-to-day responsibilities do not become Behavioral Intervention Team issues. Examples include:
- Classroom management issues.
- Code of Conduct violations not associated with a behavior that qualifies as a Behavioral Information Team referral.
Last Modified: 5/7/21, 8:48 AM