What is CheckMate?

The game of chess is simple to learn, but difficult to master. CheckMate is a rampage violence prevention program from NaBITA that can help to protect your campus. CheckMate can be presented as a training on your campus by Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D., creator of the program. CheckMate can also be taught to a team of trainers for your campus, so that it can be facilitated as needed for groups on your campus.

CheckMate uses the pieces of a chess set as exemplars to demonstrate risk factors related to rampage violence. While everyone on your campus need not be familiar with the game of chess to use CheckMate, this program teaches students, staff, and faculty members to identify the warning signs of violent behavior.

Each chess piece memorably represents a cluster of risk factors associated with potentially violent behavior. The metaphor is taught through the use of dozens of case examples and indelible video clips that engage the audience. Key research is offered with accessible terminology for those who work with students on the “front lines.”  While the intent is not that participants become experts at violence prevention, they will become more aware of the risk factors associated with violence, allowing them make critical identifications and share information with those who can take action.

This program is effective across many campus divisions and departments. CheckMate can be taught in a three-hour train-the-trainer session. Individuals can learn to facilitate the hour-long program to others in their campus community, such as RAs, student leaders, front office staff, faculty members, and other campus constituents who work with students.

Who should attend CheckMate training?

The three-hour train-the-trainer session is useful for student affairs professional staff members who are connected with residential life, counseling, student conduct and the campus behavioral intervention team. Public safety and campus security personnel may also find value in becoming CheckMate trainers.

Upon completion of the course, trainers will be able to teach Checkmate to:

  • Student leaders who typically include resident advisors and directors, team captains, SGA members and club and organization presidents.
  • Faculty and staff members interested in learning common warning signs of violent behavior in order to better prevent campus violence. These groups typically include residential life staff (such as hall directors and executive housing directors), campus police, conduct officers, counselors, psychologists, student affairs administrators, and anyone connected with the campus student of concern or behavioral intervention teams (BIT).
  • Criminal justice, psychology or sociology majors interested in mass shooters and extreme violence.

What will participants learn with CheckMate?

  • A six-item typology related to extreme violence (King, Queen, Bishop, Rook, Knight and Pawn).
  • The difference between primal (affective violence) and cognitive (targeted violence) aggression.
  • Some common risk factors as identified by the FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education and Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.
  • What to do when you encounter someone behaving aggressively.
  • How to remain calm when responding to threats.
  • The importance of sharing information with college officials in order to pull together “pieces of the puzzle” to get out ahead of an attack.
  • How to understand the pathway to violence and how school shooters rarely ‘snap’ but instead plan the attack months in advance.

What materials are provided to trainers?

Once participants attend a train-the-trainer session, they will be provided with access to electronic copies of the presentation, handouts, wallet cards and research related to CheckMate. There is no additional cost for the training materials.

How many on-campus constituents can learn CheckMate?

There is no limit to how many people can learn CheckMate during a training.

How was CheckMate created?

CheckMate was developed by Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D. and Marianne Price, M.S. It is based on the latest scholarship in the field of threat assessment; therefore each content area of the program is well-supported by research from leading organizations and individuals in the field of threat assessment, including:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Secret Service
  • Department of Education
  • Post Office
  • Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP)
  • Risk Assessment Guideline Elements for Violence (RAGE-V)
  • Bryan Vossekuil
  • J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.
  • Mary Ellen O’Toole, Ph.D.
  • James T. Turner, Ph.D.
  • Michael G. Gelles, Psy.D.

How can we have someone trained to teach CheckMate?

To schedule a visit, please contact Megan BirsterDirector of Marketing Outreach & Business Development, at (610) 993-0229 ext. 1015.