September 8, 2021 - The goal of Violence/Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) process is is that every incident of youth violence in our communities be addressed. VTRA is early intervention – which is quite possibly prevention.
The process is initiated and managed by school administrators who have received VTRA training from the Canadian Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.
Duty to Report
There is zero tolerance for not responding. Prevention of youth violence is a community responsibility and it is everybody’s duty to report. Under-reaction is epidemic and a chief factor of escalation from thought to action.
What is a Threat?
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, investigated, and responded to. In a culture of responsible reporting, students need to believe that they will be believed when they confide; their identity will be kept confidential; their information will be acted upon promptly; and their concern will be investigated thoroughly.
Who is on a Threat Assessment Team?
Each threat assessment team is multi agency. The team may include school staff, psychologist, police, child protection agencies, community mental health workers, hospitals, probation/parole and other professionals.
What is the Main Purpose of a Threat Assessment?
- To ensure the safety of students, staff, parents, and others.
- To ensure a full understanding of the context of the threat.
- To begin to understand the factors that contribute to the threat maker’s behaviour.
- To view the student as in need of intervention rather than to be disciplined.
- To be proactive in developing an intervention plan that addresses the emotional and physical safety of the threat maker. It may include disciplinary action but will include appropriate supports to aid the student in developing and using positive strategies.
- To promote the emotional and physical safety of all.
- To ensure all school and agency partners are working together with a common understanding and protocol.
What happens in a Student Threat Assessment?
All threat making behaviour by a student(s) shall be reported to the Principal who will activate the protocol for the initial response.
Once the team has been activated, interviews may be held with students, the threat maker(s), parents and staff to determine the level of risk and develop an appropriate response to the incident.
Intervention plans will be developed and shared with parents, staff, and students as required and as appropriate.
Education partners are committed to creating and maintain school environments in which students, staff, parents and others feel safe. Parkland School Division, Evergreen Catholic Separate Regional Division, Living Waters Christian Academy, Mother Earth’s Childrens’ Charter School, St. Matthew Lutheran School, and Columbus Academy - Bosco Homes have taken a lead role as there is a direct application to the health and safety of the school environment.
- Aboriginal Parent Link - Native Counselling Services of Alberta
- Alberta Health Services – Childrens’ Mental Health
- Alberta Human Services – Children & Family Services
- Alberta Parenting for the Future
- Canadian Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response
- City of Spruce Grove
- Columbus Academy - Bosco Homes Schools
- Evergreen Catholic Separate Regional School Division No. 2
- Family and Community Support Services – Spruce Grove
- Family and Community Support Services – Stony Plain
- Living Waters Christian Academy
- Mother Earth Children’s Charter School
- Parkland County
- Parkland School Division
- SML Christian Academy
- Spruce Grove Fire Department
- Town of Stony Plain
Additional information is available in the VTRA Fair Notice and Practice Information Brochure.
View the full VTRA Protocol.
For more information contact:
Director, Wellness & Community Partnerships
Director, Student Services