Administrative Procedure 165

Appendix A: Threat Assessment

Background

The Division is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in schools where students, staff, parents, and others feel safe. To this end, the Superintendent will establish a protocol for responding to student threats / high-risk behaviours.

Definitions

High-risk behaviours include, but are not limited to, possession of weapons, bomb threats, and threats to kill or injure others. Threats may be written, verbal, posted on the Internet or made by gesture. They may be direct, indirect, conditional, or veiled. High-risk behaviours are those of students twelve years of age and older who are believed to have contravened Section 264.1 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states that student “who in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys, or causes any person to receive a threat…to cause death or bodily harm” has committed an offense. Special consideration will be given to children under 12 years of age.

Immediate risk situations are those situations involving high-risk that require immediate police intervention, such as when a student is making a threat and is in possession of a weapon.

Threat Assessment Team is composed of the Principal, Vice-Principal, Guidance Counselor/Family-School Liaison Counselor and other onsite administrative or teaching staff as predetermined by the Principal. Depending on the severity of the perceived behaviour, this team may be expanded to also include police officers, physicians, psychologists or psychiatrists, child welfare workers, mental health professionals, or criminal profilers.

Worrisome behaviours are those that cause concern for members of the school system that may indicate that a student is moving toward a greater risk of violent behaviour. This may include drawing pictures, writing stories, or making vague statements that do not, of themselves, constitute “uttering threats” as defined by law, but are causing concern for some members of the school community because of their violent content.

Procedures

  1. Fair Notice
    1. Prior to any threat assessment protocol being implemented, all students, staff, and parents shall be provided with information about the protocol and procedures so that “fair notice” is given that threat behaviour will not be tolerated. This will include placing the information in the school student handbook and placing the information on the Division website.
    2. The Principal is the Threat Assessment Team Leader and shall take the lead to ensure that students, staff, and parents are aware of the protocol and that a consistent message is given regarding the use of the protocol.

  2. Reporting
    1. Any person in a school, having knowledge of high-risk student behaviour or having reasonable grounds to believe there is a potential for high-risk behaviour shall immediately report the information to the Principal.
    2. No action shall be taken against a person who makes a report unless it is made maliciously or without reasonable grounds.
    3. In cases where a report is made maliciously, the person shall be dealt with according to Division policy and procedures, and the law, where applicable.

  3. Duty to Respond
    1. School staff shall respond to all “Worrisome” or “High Risk/Threat Related Behaviours”. All indications of threat to person or property within the school setting shall be taken seriously and assessed accordingly.

  4. Immediate Risk
    1. The Principal shall contact the police immediately and take steps to ensure the safety of all those in the school by activating established procedures such as school evacuation or school security (lockdown).
    2. If the Threat Assessment Team has not been previously assembled, the Principal who is the Threat Assessment Team leader shall notify the Threat Assessment Team members, as soon as possible, following initial police contact.
    3. The Superintendent will be notified as soon as possible and will be kept informed/ consulted at every stage of assessment/intervention.

  5. High-Risk Behaviours
    1. Upon receiving a report of high-risk behaviour, the Principal shall initiate the protocol for the response of the Threat Assessment Team composed of the Principal/Team leader, Guidance Counselor/Family School Liaison Counselor and police in order to assess the high-risk behaviour.
    2. In cases where it is believed a Criminal Code violation has occurred, the police officer assigned to the Threat Assessment Team determines if charges will be laid.
    3. If the police choose not to lay initial charges, the Threat Assessment Team shall continue to conduct a risk assessment and determine follow-up recommendations.
    4. Although there is ongoing collaboration among Threat Assessment Team members, each team member has his/her own “jurisdiction”.
    5. The Principal shall notify the parent(s) of the student making the threat at the earliest opportunity as well as the parents of those students against whom the threat was made. Parents become an integral part of the initial risk assessment process.
    6. When information suggests that a student who has displayed high-risk behaviour poses a threat, other members of the larger Threat Assessment Team may become involved in the comprehensive assessment phase.
    7. In order to protect others and/or the threat maker, students may be suspended from school by the Principal during the assessment period.
      1. The isolation and disconnection felt by high risk students during a suspension may be exacerbated if steps are not taken to keep the student connected to healthy supports. Therefore, a suspension from access to school property and persons must not end the involvement of the Threat Assessment Team and other key support services.
    8. The Threat Assessment Team shall guide the process from initial assessment, to planning interventions to decrease risk, to plans for re-entry to school where a suspension has occurred, to monitoring to ensure that the issue has been addressed.
    9. If circumstances warrant and following the completion of necessary assessments, team members may work with the student and their parent(s) to develop a re-entry plan for school that becomes a signed contract by all participants.

  6. Duty to Victims and Others
    1. The Threat Assessment Team leader shall ensure that appropriate support is provided to those against whom threats have been made.
    2. The Principal shall notify all school staff, and parents, if necessary, within a reasonable time period, when the protocol has been activated as a result of high- risk behaviour.
  7. Elementary and Diverse Needs Students
    1. When with students under twelve (12) years of age, students with diverse needs, or other exceptional students, accountability/maturation issues and cognitive abilities shall be taken into consideration.
    2. The Principal (Threat Assessment Team leader) shall determine police involvement.
    3. Some of these students may benefit from police involvement as a way to provide a “teaching moment” for the student.

  8. Worrisome Behaviours
    1. Members of the school community shall communicate all worrisome behaviours to the Principal (Threat Assessment Team leader) for consultation.
    2. The Principal (Threat Assessment Team Leader) shall consult with the Threat Assessment Team members as to whether or not a threat assessment needs to be conducted.
    3. The police may be consulted, but it in the case of “Worrisome Behaviour” which has not yet been determined to be “High Risk Behaviour”; this takes the form of consultation, rather than a formal complaint.

  9. Threat Assessment Incident Report
    1. The Principal (Threat Assessment Team leader) shall be responsible for seeing that a Threat Assessment Incident Report is completed and kept on file.
    2. The Assessment Incident Report shall include a date for review and all Threat Assessment Team members informed of that date.

  10. Communication Plan to the School Community
    1. Any communication shall be done through the Principal in consultation with the Superintendent.
    2. Principals shall communicate to school councils regularly regarding school safety.

  11. Administrative Training
    1. All school administrators, guidance counsellors, and family-school liaison counsellors shall have Level 1 Threat Assessment Training.
    2. This Administrative Procedure will be reviewed at September Principal’s school staff and school council meetings.

Reference

Section 12, 16.2, 18, 20, 22, 45, 45.1, 60, 61, 57, 113, 114.1, School Act

Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act

Emergency Medical Aid Act

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Public Health Act

Criminal Code (Canada)

Mental Health Regulations

 

Approved: June 10, 2004

Amended: June 22, 2005; August 21, 2018