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Critical incident response in SD62 schools

Threat assessment is part of critical incident response in School District 62.

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Lockers at Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School are in each home room classroom, instead of in hallways. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Saturday November 19, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Last week the West Shore RCMP According to RCMP noted some increased in teen violence in the community.

That was in the context of reporting on an attempted abduction at the Shopper Drug Mart parking lot at the Westshore Town Centre on November 14.

West Shore RCMP Cpl Nancy Sagger said she is concerned about what she described as an increase in youth violence in the Langford area.

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McDonald’s parking lot at 854 Langford Parkway (Nov 2022). [Island Social Trends]

That was in the context of — in recent weeks — that there have been other (more violent) incidents in the area, including at the McDonalds at 854 Langford Parkway (after which a teen got on a bus out to Sooke and was arrested by Sooke RCMP who apprehended the bus) and at the local ESSO gasoline station on Jacklin Road in Langford. Each of those incidents occured within or across from Westshore Town Centre in the older west side of Langford.

Hanging out in gangs:

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As reported on CHEK-TV, last week School District 62 (SD62) Superintendent Scott Stinson said that in a general way, youth who are currently not attending SD62 schools — and who appear to be hanging out in gangs — are being contacted by school district outreach workers for casual contact and communication.

SD62 school-wide approach:

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SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson {file photo Nov 14, 2022). [Island Social Trends]

In response to a query from Island Social Trends last week:

“Speaking in generalities of our district-wide approach, we will always wrap supports around students who have been through stressful or traumatic events,” said Stinson.

“In SD62, the safety of students and staff is always our top priority. We work closely with both West Shore RCMP and Sooke RCMP, as well as other community partners to develop procedures that keep our school communities safe,” as stated on the SD62 Critical Incidents information page.

Violent Threat Risk Assessment:

“In regards to violent or threatening behaviour, the Sooke School District follows the VTRA (Violent Threat Risk Assessment) process to keep our school communities safe,” said Stinson.

“It is an integral part of the work that our Safe and Healthy Schools Department does, in collaboration with the erase initiative through the Ministry of Education.” | Link: Critical Incident Response in SD62

“A VTRA protocol was developed in partnership with several community agencies and uses a multi-disciplinary response to worrisome, violent or threatening behaviour,” said Stinson by email today. “Trained VTRA teams respond by investigating incidents, conducting risk assessments and providing recommendations to school and community partners.”

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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.

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What parents and students need to know (from SD62 website):

  • Staff, parents/guardians, students and community members must report all threat-related behaviours.
  • All threats must be taken seriously, investigated and responded to.
  • Investigations may involve the Principal, Vice Principal, school counsellor, teacher, the police or other community agencies.
  • Investigations may involve locker or personal property searches.
  • Interviews will be held with the threat maker and other students or adults who may have information about the threat.
  • Parents of students who are directly involved with a threat will be notified.
  • The threat assessment process will continue even if the threat maker or parent/guardian refuses to participate.
  • Threatening behaviour may result in disciplinary action.
  • An intervention plan may be developed for the student making the threat and a support plan developed for any individuals targeted by threats.

Pro-active safety:

During the tour of the new Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School on November 14, it was pointed out that lockers are in classrooms, not in the hallways. This is part of enabling home room (or other) teachers to observe student activities at lockers, and so mobile phones can be close by for students if are asked to put them away in their lockers, as explained last week by District Principal of Capital Planning, Windy Beadall.

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Lockers at Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School are in each home room classroom, instead of in hallways. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

This produces an additional layer of inconvenience for school administration if a locker search is required, but has a student-first if not preventative mentality to it.

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Island Social Trends is a professional news service with an online portal at islandsocialtrends.ca, reporting on news of the west shore and south Vancouver Island since mid-2020.

mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke produces the Island Social Trends news stream, a socioeconomic angle on the news which emerged from her three previous print publications: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).

Mary P Brooke was a trustee candidate in the SD62 (west shore Belmont Zone) election in October 2022.