In the interest of student and staff safety and security, there may be times when schools conduct Threat Assessments.
What Behaviours Initiate a Student Threat Assessment? What is a Threat?
A student threat assessment will be initiated when behaviours include, but are not limited to, serious violence or violence with intent to harm or kill, verbal/written/drawn threats to harm/kill others, Internet, social media, email or text threats to harm/kill others, threatening gestures, possession of weapons (including replicas), bomb threats, and fire setting. All threats must be taken seriously, investigated and responded to.
Duty to Report:
To keep school communities safe and caring, staff, parents, students and community members must report all threat- related behaviours.
What is a Threat Assessment Team?
Each school has a Threat Assessment Team which is multi-disciplinary. The team may include the Principal, Vice- Principal, Counsellor, Resource Teacher and Police Officer. The District Threat Assessment Team may consist of District Staff, the Safe Schools Coordinator and other Ministries/Agencies (e.g., Ministry of Children and Family Development or Fraser Health Authority). District Staff and Community Agencies are trained in the Threat Assessment protocol and process.
Ideally parents/caregivers are involved and engaged in the process and have given consent to share information to support student safety. However, in emergency safety situations, such as Threat Assessments, all parties (the school, School District and the appropriate Community Agencies) have the ability to share information on a need-to-know basis; as supported by case law, and expanded upon by privacy commissioners, without consent or participation of the threat maker and their parents/caregivers.
What is the Purpose of a Student Threat Assessment?
- Ensure the safety of students, staff, parents/caregivers and others.
- Ensure a full understanding of the context of the threat.
- Understand factors contributing to the threat makers’ behaviour, including the impact of trauma
- Be proactive in developing an intervention plan that addresses the emotional and physical safety of the threat maker.
- Promote the emotional and physical safety of all.
What Happens in a Student Threat Assessment?
All threat making behaviour by a student shall be reported to the Principal who will activate the protocol for the initial response. Once the team has been activated, interviews may be held with the student(s), the threat maker, parents and staff to determine the level of risk and develop an appropriate response to the incident. Intervention plans will be shared with parents, staff and students as required.
Can I Refuse to Participate in a Threat Assessment Process?
It is important for all parties to engage in the process. However, if for some reason there is reluctance to participate in the process by the threat maker or parent/caregiver, the threat assessment process will continue in order to promote a safe and caring learning environment, with or without the consent of the threat-maker and/or their parents/caregiver.