Concerns about school shootings often result in zero tolerance policies, although these can be counter-productive by escalating transient behaviors above their actual threat level. In contrast, a formal threat assessment program is a proactive and flexible violence prevention practice that objectively identifies, assesses and manages both transient and substantive threats with the goal of resolving conflicts before they escalate into violence. Such a model allows school-based teams to follow a clearly defined, decision-tree process to resolve less serious, transient threats quickly, while focusing greater attention on more serious, substantive threats.