Terrorism and Schools

Reporting Suspicious Activity

Report Suspicious Activity to the Washington State Fusion Center.

Contact Information

As the threat of terrorism evolves and as more youth embrace extremist ideologies, there is a growing need to include processes to assess, prepare, protect, mitigate, respond, and ultimately recover from terrorism-motivated incidents within district and school safety plans.

Terrorism is defined as:

  • the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal;
  • the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.
  • Domestic: Domestic violent extremism is defined as individuals or groups attempting to advance social or political beliefs through force or violence and in violation of federal law.
  • International: The U.S. Department of State defines foreign terrorist organization(s) as organizations that advocate violence or conduct violent activities against U.S. interests domestically and abroad.


Leakage is an advance warning of a potential threat; an individual intentionally or unintentionally reveals clues that may signal an impending violent act.

Behavioral 'Leakage' Indicators

  • an unusual interest in or asking questions about security procedures;
  • overtly suspicious actions to provoke and observe responses by security or law enforcement officers;
  • an unusual interest in entry points, peak days and hours of operation, security personnel, surveillance assets (including cameras), and access controls such as alarms, barriers, doors, gates, or locks;
  • an unusual interest in security reaction drills or procedures, initiating multiple false alarms or fictitious emergency calls to the same locations or similar venues;
  • loitering, parking, or standing in the same area over multiple days with no reasonable explanation;
  • unusual interest in speaking with building maintenance personnel or security guards;
  • attention to or avoidance of surveillance cameras;
  • interest, without justification, in obtaining site plans, ingress, and egress routes, and information on employees or the public;
  • clothing not appropriate for the weather or season without a reasonable explanation;
  • sharing of media glorifying violent extremist acts
  • attempting to mobilize others to violence;
  • new or increased advocacy of violence;
  • advocacy that one's religious, cultural, or national group requires violent defense from an external threat;
  • paramilitary exercises and reconnaissance or surveillance activities related to terrorism, particularly in conjunction with advocacy of violence; and
  • acquisition of suspicious quantities of weapons and ammunition or materials that could be used to produce explosives.