The safety of students and staff is always of the highest importance to the Sooke School District.
Drop, Cover and Hold – Used in the event of an earthquake, explosion, or any event that shakes the school.
Hold and Secure – Used when there is a security concern, such as a police incident in the neighbourhood of the school. Exterior doors of the school are locked and normal duties continue inside the school.
Lockdown – Used to prevent intruders from entering occupied areas of the school, or in times when it is necessary to isolate students and staff from a danger outside or within the building. All exterior and interior doors are locked, blinds and windows closed, lights turned off and normal activity stops.
Shelter in Place – Used as a short-term measure to protect students and staff from potential dangers outside the school (e.g. environmental weather-related emergencies, dangerous wild animals on school grounds, or a missing child).
Evacuate – Used to move people out of the school when a hazard exists inside. May include floods, potential fire, or a bomb threat.
Room Clear – Used to move people away from a hazard contained in one room/area.
When a critical incident occures, the school district works with the school and (in cases where they are present) first responders on the scene to get an accurate sense of the event.
Once this information is secured and verified, the school district then shares with parents/guardians all details that are approved for release.* Typically, information is posted in the following order:
- Direct message to parents/guardians via email and possibly phone message;
- A post to the school website;
- A post to the school district website (as appropriate);
- A post on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook).
In many cases, the event is brief and the all-clear is given before the school district is able to post notice. In such cases, notification is likely to be limited to direct communication through the parent portal and/or a post to social media.
* The school district is often limited in the amount of information it is able to share publicly. This is particularly true in cases related to police investigations or in situations where the school district must consider its legal obligations to protect student privacy. In such circumstances, the school district will share all information that has been approved for public release.
Violence and threats of violence are taken very seriously in the Sooke School District. As such, the district provides parents/guardians with a Fair Notice about its Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) policies and protocols.
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.
What parents and students need to know
- 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.
Duty to report
In order to keep school communities safe and caring staff, parents/guardians/caregivers, students and community members must report all threat-related behaviours to the school principal.
What is the purpose of a student threat assessment?
- To ensure and promote the emotional and physical safety of students, staff, parents, the student making the threat, and others;
- To ensure a full understanding of the context of the threat;
- To understand the factors underlying the behaviours of the threat maker;
- To be proactive in developing an intervention plan that addresses the emotional and physical safety of the threat maker; and
- To promote the emotional and physical safety of all.
What behaviours initiate a threat assessment?
A student threat assessment will be initiated for behaviours including, but are not limited to:
- serious violence or violence with intent to harm or kill;
- verbal/written threats to harm/kill others (clear, direct, and plausible);
- online threats to harm/kill others;
- possession of weapons (including replicas);
- bomb threats (making and/or detonating explosive devices);
- fire starting;
- sexual intimidation or assault;
- gang related intimidation and violence.
The School District is subject to personal information privacy laws, and will undertake the collection of this information in compliance with the requirements of such laws; including by limiting collection to information that is relevant and necessary to address a risk or threat and by ensuring that information is collected from online open source sites. The School District will not collect information as part of a threat assessment unless there is reason to believe that a risk exists. Information collected as part of a threat assessment may be provided to law enforcement authorities in appropriate circumstances.