2008 Secret Service Report: Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence:
Six key findings were identified. Given the small sample size and the exploratory nature of the study, generalization from these findings may be limited.
1. The relationships between the bystanders and the attackers, as well as when and how the bystanders came upon information about the planned attacks, varied.
From the original SSI case files, there was information available about the relationship between 119 of the bystanders and the attackers. Of those, 34% were friends with the attacker, 29% were acquaintances/co-workers/schoolmates, 6% were family members, and in 31% of the cases the relationship was of another type or unknown. Eighty-two percent of the bystanders received information directly from the attacker and 13% were told secondhand. 3 Details about when the bystander learned the information were available in 91 of the cases. A majority of thoseindividuals received the information more than a day before the attack. Fifty-nine percent were told days or weeks in advance, 22% were told months or years prior, and 19% were told a few hours or less before the attack.
2. Bystanders shared information related to a threat along a continuum that ranged from bystanders who took no action to those who actively conveyed the information. Participants displayed a range in their actions and willingness to come forward. A continuum emerged between bystanders who took no action and those bystanders who were proactive in conveying information related to the threat to others. For instance, while some came forward without external prompting and were entirely forthcoming, others revealed the information they knew only after repeated prodding from adults, including school safety officials. In addition, some bystanders did not share their information with anyone or attempt to come forward, while others discussed the information with, or sought the advice of, peers and adults. Information from the SSI case files indicated that only 4% of the individuals with prior knowledge attempted to dissuade the attacker from violence