In order to keep our school communities safe the Stafford Public School Division expects anyone in our school division and school community having knowledge of high-risk student behavior or having reasonable grounds to believe there is a potential for high-risk or violent behavior, to promptly report the information to the school administration. All protocols align with the model policies, procedures and guidelines from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice (www.dcjs.virginia.gov) and other appropriate legislation.
There are many initiatives in place to support our schools as safe places for students to learn. One important initiative is Threat Assessment. School teams work to assess potentially high risk student behavior and evaluate the level of threat to others and the student exhibiting the behavior. The timely sharing of information about students at risk for violence towards self and/or others, ensures that supportive plans are put in place to enhance safety. In addition, the effective implementation of a division Threat Assessment team will support collaborative planning to prevent traumatic events.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE DIVISION THREAT ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION PROTOCOL?
- To ensure the safety of students, staff and parents
- To understand, based on the data gathered, the factors that contribute to a threat-maker’s behavior
- To develop an intervention plan that addresses the emotional and physical safety of the threat-maker and others
WHAT ARE THE BEHAVIORS THAT INITIATE A STUDENT THREAT ASSESSMENT?
A threat is an expression of intent to do harm or act out violently against someone or something. Threats may be verbal, written, drawn, posted on the Internet or made by gesture. Threats must be taken seriously, be investigated and followed up with a response.
A Student Threat Assessment will be initiated when a student exhibits behaviors that include, but are not limited to:
- Violence with the intent to harm or kill
- Verbal/written threats to harm or kill others (clear, direct and plausible)
- Internet website/social media threats to harm or kill others
- Possession of weapons, including replicas, bomb threats (making and/or detonating explosive devices)
- Fire setting
- Sexual intimidation or assault
- Gang related intimidation and violence
A Threat Assessment may be initiated because of the content of an incident or as a result of worrisome behavior.
WHAT IS A DIVISION/SCHOOL THREAT ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION TEAM?
Each school has a Threat Assessment Team. The Threat Assessment Team includes a variety of team members and support personnel. The team will include a combination of the following: Administrators, Psychologists, Guidance Counsellors, Social Workers, School Resource Officers and other pertinent professionals and/or community resources (such as Mental Health Professionals). The Threat Assessment Team will share and review student information and the details of the event in order to collaboratively prepare a plan of action based on a broad range of expertise.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
All threat making behaviors are reported to school administration who may activate the Protocol. A team is formed and people are assigned to gather data. Information may be obtained from multiple sources including:
- Teachers, students, targets, threat makers, parents/caregivers
- Current and previous school records
- Support groups and agencies
- Online sites and/or social media
- Locker and backpack search
Data collected is shared and a determination is made whether the threat is considered a low, medium, or high level of concern.