Administrative Procedure 357: Violence Free Schools

Legal References: Education Act

Section 265 Duties of Principal; Education Act: Part XIII Behaviour, Discipline and Safety; Guideline - Ontario Schools Code of Conduct; Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 120 Reporting Violent Incidents to the Ministry of Education; PPM128 The Provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Codes of Conduct; PPM144 Bullying Prevention and Intervention; PPM 145 Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behavior; Violence-Free Schools Policy (Ministry of Education, 1994)

Related References

1. Safe Environment

1.1 This administrative procedure is intended to foster and maintain a safe environment for students and all members of the school community.

1.2 This administrative procedure seeks to provide an environment that recognizes the worth and dignity of all persons and their right to pursue a path of personal
development unrestricted by the prejudicial actions and attitudes of others.

1.3 The goals of violence prevention procedures in Avon Maitland District School Board are to:

1.3.1 Develop and maintain a safe, welcoming, violence-free school environment;
1.3.2 Ensure that every elementary and secondary school uses their respective codes of conduct to communicate to all members of the school community the types of behaviour expected in the school;
1.3.3 Help students understand what constitutes acceptable behaviour in the school and society at large, behave appropriately, and be aware of the consequences of not doing so;
1.3.4 Ensure that victims, potential victims, witnesses and perpetrators know that the school will act to stop or prevent violence or harassment;
1.3.5 Enable students to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to prevent violence and to deal with violent and potentially violent situations;
1.3.6 Ensure that staff members develop the skills, confidence, and knowledge necessary to recognize and handle violent or potentially violent incidents and to educate students about violence and violence prevention;
1.3.7 Assist students and staff in managing their own anger, frustrations, and conflicts without resorting to aggression;
1.3.8 Promote the security and healing of the victims, manage the re-entry and rehabilitation of the perpetrators; and
1.3.9 Encourage the whole community (including students, parents, guardians, staff, community organizations, agencies and services, business and labour and other groups) to support violence-prevention initiatives and to play an active role in promoting violence prevention.

2. Procedures

This administrative procedure focuses on key areas of implementation to proactively deal with the issue of violence in schools.

2.1 Violence Prevention

2.1.1 Curriculum plays a crucial role in violence prevention. The district has implemented curriculum at both the elementary and secondary levels to increase students’ awareness of violence and knowledge of individual rights.
2.1.2 Teaching strategies such as co-operative learning are also encouraged as models of co-operation and non-violent, non-competitive behaviour.
2.1.3 Ongoing staff development is offered, both to new staff members and those who want to update their skills in curriculum development and teaching strategies that support this area. Partnerships with community agencies have been developed to enhance the initiatives against violence.

2.2 Identification and Intervention

2.2.1 Prevention of violence is best accomplished through early and ongoing identification and intervention with potential bullies and victims within the school population. It must be made clear to everyone in the school community that violence will not be tolerated, and that the school will take action to protect students and deal with those who exhibit inappropriate behaviour.
2.2.2 Each school shall have its own code of conduct, developed and reviewed regularly with students, staff, parents/guardians and community members. This code of conduct will establish clear and fair consequences for unacceptable violent behaviour, including vandalism, and will be prominently displayed in the school and effectively communicated to all.
2.2.3 Administrative procedures related to suspension and expulsion and the district’s police protocol provide the staff with clear guidelines to be followed in dealing with violent incidents. Schools will be expected to develop emergency procedures, a school response plan and specified disciplinary procedures such as a school wide Progressive Discipline Plan.

2.3 Appropriate Follow-Up

2.3.1 Schools shall participate in the district’s responsibility to deal with the aftermath of a violent incident, both on behalf of the victim, through appropriate communication follow-up and support, and on behalf of students who commit inappropriate acts.
2.3.2 This follow-up includes ongoing assessment of student needs, referral to counseling as appropriate, and provision of alternative learning opportunities as appropriate.
2.3.3 Form 357A Violent Incident Report will be completed. A copy of the report will be placed in the student’s Ontario Student Record.

2.4 Ongoing Monitoring

2.4.1 The school environment must be closely monitored. Inappropriate behaviour, which could threaten others’ sense of safety and security, is not to be tolerated. Please refer to AP 352 Promoting Positive Student Behavior.
2.4.2 Ongoing supervision and reviews, e.g. Safe Schools Team, shall be part of the regular activities to ensure safety within the school environment.

2.5 Violent Incident Reporting

2.5.1 Form 357A Violent Incident Report will be completed following serious violent incidents, namely incidents that must be reported to the police for example:
          • Possession of weapons (e.g., guns, knives);
          • Threats of serious physical injury;
          • Physical assaults causing bodily harm;
          • Sexual assault;
          • Robbery and extortion;
          • Any hate-motivated violence (e.g., violence involving racism or homophobia); and
          • Any vandalism causing extensive damage to school property or property located on school premises.
2.5.2 For procedures on reporting violent incidents to the police specific to students within the three age groups: under twelve years; twelve to seventeen years; and adults (i.e., eighteen years or older), refer to the Police School Board Protocol (Appendix B, AP 351).

2.5.3 The information relating to serious violent incidents leading to reports to the police, as well as the information relating to serious violent incidents leading to suspension or expulsion, must be maintained in the OSR. This information is to be recorded on Form 357A Violent Incident Report.

2.5.4 The following information will be included in the OSR:
        • A Violent Incident Form (Form 357A) containing:
          • A description of the serious violent incident leading to a suspension or expulsion or a call to the police;
        • A reference to the call to the police, if applicable;
        • A reference to the school/board disciplinary response to the incident, if applicable; and
        • A copy of the school board’s letter(s) to the student and /or parent(s) or guardian(s) regarding the suspension or expulsion for violent behaviour.

2.5.5 Removal of information from the OSR:
        • The information relating to suspension for violent behaviour shall not be removed from the OSR unless three (3) consecutive years have passed during which no further suspension for serious violent incidents have taken place; and
        • The information relating to expulsion shall be removed five (5) years after the date on which the school board expelled the student.

2.6 Threat Assessment

2.6.1 The Violence Threat Risk Assessment Protocol (Appendix A) shall be followed when principals need to respond to potential risks of violence towards students or staff.

2.6.2 Principals shall contact the Superintendent of Education (Operations) for guidance before considering a Level 2 Assessment.

2.6.3 In cases where a Level 2 Assessment is undertaken, every effort should be made to obtain consent from parent(s)/guardian(s)/adult student(s) using the Threat Assessment Consent Form (printed from Maplewood).
Please refer to AP 357 for Appendix A - Violence Threat Risk Assessment Protocol
Revised November 2017