Violence Threat Risk Assessment Protocol
Fair Notice – Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA)
The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is committed to providing safe learning environments for all students, staff, school visitors and community members. When students behave inappropriately, principals use progressive discipline to help students take responsibility for their actions, change their behaviour, and learn from their mistakes. When student behaviours pose a potential threat to safety or serious harm, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board’s Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) protocol helps principals take further steps to protect student well-being.
The VTRA protocol helps schools respond quickly to threatening incidents such as:
• possession of a weapon or replica weapon;
• bomb threat or plan;
• verbal, written or electronic threats to kill or injure oneself or others;
• sexual intimidation or violence;
• fire setting; and
• other threats of violence.
The Violence Threat Risk Assessment outlines how a school responds immediately to threatening behaviour. Timely sharing of information about students at risk for violence ensures that supportive plans are put into place to enhance safety for all. Principals may first bring together a school team, which includes the principal/vice-principal, the school board counsellor and staff, as well as the school Police Liaison Officer.
If the situation is serious, the principal may also consult with the superintendent responsible for the school, and arrange a VTRA meeting with trained community threat assessment partners. This community team also includes representatives of community agencies who work with us to keep our schools safe, such as local police and children’s mental health organizations. Parents and guardians will be notified in advance if their child will be assessed through the VTRA protocol. If parents/guardians cannot be reached, or if they choose not to provide consent, but a concern for safety still exists due to threatening behaviour, the threat assessment may still proceed. Personal information shared throughout this process will respect and balance each individual’s right to privacy with the need to ensure the safety of all. As always, student safety is our first priority.
Each VTRA will result in an assessment of risk level (low, medium or high) with recommendations and an intervention plan that addresses the emotional and physical safety of the threat-maker and others developed and shared. There are two levels in the VTRA process (Stage 1 and Stage 2). In some cases, a Stage 1 VTRA can move to a Stage 2 VTRA if the information shared merits further review.
In order to keep our school communities safe, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board has developed policies that state that any person in the school community that has knowledge of high risk student behaviour, or has reasonable grounds to believe that there is a potential for risky or violent behaviour, to promptly report the information to the school principal or designates. The practices outlined above, as well as all Board policies, procedures, and protocols align with the Ministry of Education’s Safe Schools initiatives and other appropriate legislation.
As always, student safety is our first priority. Should you have any questions, please speak with your principal.
The process described above reflects the work of J. Kevin Cameron, Director for the North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Certified staff deliver training to new school administrators and counsellors two times per year in conjunction with our coterminous school board and other community partners.