Magazine article The Futurist

Predicting Violence

Magazine article The Futurist

Predicting Violence

Article excerpt

Schools worried about student violence may get help from a new software program that identifies troubled kids who could erupt unexpectedly.

Innocent-looking kids may turn out to be more dangerous than their tattooed and body-pierced classmates. A computer-assisted evaluation system called Mosaic-2000 promises to help school officials see beyond students' images to find out what is really going on in their minds and lives.

"Mosaic-2000 is based on questions carefully crafted by 200 experts in law enforcement, psychiatry, and other areas about student behavior based on case histories of people who have turned violent," reports School Board News. "Questions address a variety of concerns--from the availability of guns to a student's abuse of dogs and cats."

According to the program's developers, the screening software will principally be used on students who have already given some cause for special concern, so that school officials can tell whether a student's flare-up constitutes a real threat rather than an innocuous outburst. Mosaic-2000 would not become a psychological "metal detector" through which all students must pass. …

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