Administrative Procedure 357: Violence Threat and Risk Assessment

Legal References

Education Act: Section 265 Duties of Principal; Education Act: Part XIII Behaviour, Discipline and Safety; 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

Related References

The Violence Threat and Risk Assessment AP #357 shall be followed when principals need to respond to potential risks of violence towards students or staff. The full protocol is available for school staff on the Safe School website, found on the Core 

1. Statement of Principles

We have a shared obligation to take active steps to reduce violence in our schools and community. Service providers can reduce the risk of student violence and ultimately keep our students and schools safer when we work together collaboratively and conjointly with families, in the face of student violence or the threat thereof.

A collaborative and coordinated community response to student violence or the threat of violence is most effective in reducing risk and preventing traumatic events for students. Students’ individual needs, strengths and privacy will inform service planning. Parents will be involved in the process.

Violence prevention in schools and neighbourhoods is a community responsibility. All community partners work together to promote and maintain safety and strive to prevent violence.

The partners involved in the VTRA Protocol endeavour to create an efficient and timely response to any threat or potential risk of violence involving a student in our community.

2. What is a Violent Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA)

Kevin Cameron, in “Assessing Violence Potential: Protocol for Dealing with High-Risk Student Behaviours (Oct., 2001)” indicates that “the primary purpose of the team is to identify indicators that suggest a student may be engaging in attack related behaviours against some target and intervene to decrease the risk, prevent injury to self or others, and assist the student to receive the help they need to address the issues contributing to the high-risk student behaviour".

It is important to use reasonable judgement when determining whether, or not to move forward with a VTRA. Sometimes, behaviour is worrisome in nature or might be highly unusual given the student’s previous history, but not necessarily attack-related or of homicidal or suicidal intent. Taking into account various factors such as age, developmental level, special education profile, mental health needs and environmental triggers/antecedents will help the principal assess the severity of behaviour and determine the most appropriate response.

3. Behaviours that Initiate a Violent Threat Risk Assessment

      • Serious violence with the intent to kill or harm (clear, direct, plausible)
      • Verbal/written threats to kill others
      • Internet (Facebook, YouTube etc.), text messaging, threats to kill/injure 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

4. Duty to Report

All staff must report all threat or violence related behaviours immediately to the principal or designate.

5. Responsibilities

5.1. Safe School-Student Support Services
The Safe School-Student Support Services is required to:
          • Work with Community Partners to review VTRA protocol every two years
          • Collect statistics of VTRA meetings conducted throughout the year

5.2. School Principals
The Principal is required to:
          • For immediate threats call 911
          • Make sure all students/staff are safe; determine the whereabouts of the target(s) and threat maker(s)
          • Contact School Superintendent
          • Follow board procedures and Police Protocol (AP359 Police/School Board Protocol)
          • Set a meeting date inviting members of the School VTRA team (police SRO, board RHP, other members as determined to be essential)
          • Gather required information to determine if a VTRA is necessary or if an Extended School Team meeting (for worrisome behaviours) is more appropriate
          • Notify parents/guardians/caregivers (see page 8 of VTRA Protocol for reasons for delay of notification)
          • Ensure VTRA Notification Form only is placed in student’s OSR
          • Ensure the Fair Notice Letter is sent to families each September
          • Ensure there is adequate follow through and monitoring of the Intervention Plan

5.3. VTRA Team
The VTRA Team is required to:
          • Gather information regarding the threat maker and threat (Appendix C of VTRA Protocol)
          • Complete Violence Threat Risk Form
          • Determine Level of Concern
          • Decide on a Course of Action, Intervention Plan and Monitoring Plan

6. VTRA Review

The VTRA Protocol will be reviewed every two years by an advisory panel composed of representatives from the agencies that are signatories to the protocol. This review shall be convened by the school boards to discuss the successes and challenges of VTRA collaboration.
New March 2022