There is a new approach to protecting youth, schools and communities.
On March 4, 12 of 13 partners signed the Leduc and Area Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment and Intervention Protocol (VTRA) at the MacLab Theatre in Leduc. A representative from Alberta Human Services, Child and Family Services was not available and will be signing the document later. Representatives from Black Gold Regional Division, Evergreen Catholic Separate Regional Division, St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic School Division, Alberta Health Services, the RCMP, Leduc County, the City of Leduc, the towns of Beaumont, Calmar, Devon and the villages of Thorsby and Warburg all signed the protocol which will be used to ensure the safety of students, staff, parents and others when a threat has been made
“The safety of our students is a priority for all of us,” said Gerald Bernakevitch, board chair of Evergreen Separate School.
Under the protocol, the school partners, will maintain their commitment to safe school environments and will take the lead in that as it is the school environment which will be directly impacted when a threat is made.
A threat is any expression of intent to harm someone or act out violently against someone or something. These may be verbal, written, drawn, posted on the internet or a gesture. All threats will be taken seriously, investigated and responded to. Students who report threats will have their identities kept confidential and can be assured that, under the VTRA protocol, their concerns will be investigated thoroughly and promptly.
“The new VTRA protocol represents a strong commitment to making our community a safer place for all our residents,” said Calmar Mayor Wally Yachimetz.
Alberta Human Services, Child and Family Services, Alberta Health Services and RCMP will play an active role in determining the level of risk a student may pose and work to provide an intervention plan that supports that youth.
The community partners will support this coordinated response to violence or threats of violence.
The protocol will help police and partners understand the context of the threat and the contributing factors as well as being proactive in developing an action plan that addresses the emotional and physical safety of the threat make. It does not ignore possible disciplinary action but does provide appropriate supports to help the student.
“We are excited to provide support to this collaborative effort to community safety,” said Leduc’s Deputy Mayor Terry Lasowski.