When a student engages in threat-making behaviour and/or aggression that puts students, teachers, guardians or members of the community at significant risk, a Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) may be recommended by the School Administrator. The process of VTRA involves a student and their parents/guardians and the school team. It is a collaborative process of information gathering for the purposes of better understanding the context of what has happened, as well as to develop a plan to mitigate risk and harm for all of those involved.
A Violence Threat Risk Assessment will be completed by a team of Board staff, including some or all of the following; Principal/Vice-Principal, Teachers and other School staff, Safe and Inclusive Schools team, System Support Staff, Police and other Community Supports. Grand Erie District School Board shares a protocol with the Brant Haldimand Catholic District School Board and a variety of community agencies that allows for a process of timely information sharing in the case of acutely elevated risk. Members of the VTRA team are required to be trained in VTRA through the North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response (NACTATR). For further information on training, please see the link below:
What behaviour could lead to a Violence Threat Risk Assessment?
Some examples of behaviours that will warrant a threat or risk assessment are;
· serious violence or violence with intent to harm or kill
· indicators of suicidal ideation as it relates to fluidity (both homicidal and suicidal)
· “clear, direct and plausible” threats to harm or kill others
· use of technology to communicate threats to harm/kill others or cause property damage
· possession of weapons, including replicas
· bomb threats (making and/or detonating explosive devices)
· fire setting
· sexual intimidation or assault
· ongoing issues with bullying and/or harassment
· gang-related intimidation and violence
· hate incidents motivated by factors including, but not limited to, race, culture, religion, and/or sexual orientation
· rehearsal behaviours or evidence of planning an attack, bringing a weapon to school, threat making or assault
The purpose of Threat Risk Assessment is to identify risk factors as well as protective factors in a student’s life, including their individual strengths which can be drawn upon to complete a plan designed to mitigate risks so that a student can return safely to the school environment. This process will include interviews with guardians, students, school staff, community professionals and system support staff. The goal is to gather as much information as possible to be able to complete a fulsome assessment. This assessment will generate a VTRA summary report, a copy of which will be provided to the guardian as well as being placed in the OSR (Ontario Student Record). A meeting will be held with the guardian and the student to review the findings and recommendations.
If my child is referred for a VTRA, can I refuse?
Ideally, an assessment process is a collaborative one, that involves the student, parent/guardian, and other individuals who have knowledge of the student and may be able to lend information, guidance and support. The purpose is ultimately to provide a plan of support for the student, while also mitigating any risk of violence toward others. While working together is the ideal, a VTRA process will continue without parent consent if there are significant concerns about the student’s behaviour, as well as the impact of that behaviour on other individuals and the school community.
For further information, contact Christine Bibby, Safe and Inclusive Schools Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org