224R - Threat Assessment Teams

PURPOSE

The purpose of this regulation is to establish procedures for the assessment of and intervention with individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of school staff or students.

DEFINITIONS
  • A threat is a concerning communication or behavior that suggests a person may intend to harm someone other than themself. The threat may be spoken, written, or gestured and is considered a threat regardless of whether it is observed by or communicated directly to the target of the threat or observed by or communicated to a third party and regardless of whether the target of the threat is aware of the threat existing in any form. 
  • A threat assessment is a process used to identify potentially dangerous or violent situations and address them. 
  • An imminent threat exists when the person/situation appears to pose a clear and immediate threat of violence that requires containment and action to protect the identified target(s). 
  • A high risk threat is one in which the person/situation appears to pose a threat of violence, exhibits behaviors that indicate both a continuing intent to harm and makes efforts to acquire the capacity to carry out the plan. 
  • A moderate risk threat is one in which the person/situation does not appear to pose a threat of violence at this time but exhibits behaviors that indicate a continuing intent to harm and the potential for future violence. 
  • A low risk threat is one in which the person/situation does not appear to pose a threat of violence and identified underlying issues can be resolved. 
  • A clinically qualified professional is one who is licensed and holds a Master's degree or higher in psychology or another mental health profession.
  • A mental health assessment is a screening of the individual by a clinically qualified professional. The mental health assessment is a face-to-face interview with the subject individual and will include information about the subject individual's social history, current state of mind, and recommendations (school- and community-based) to assist the individual, as appropriate. 
  • A mental health evaluation is a deeper clinical evaluation of the individual by a licensed clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health practitioner. Following a face-to-face interview with the subject individual, the licensed mental health practitioner will determine a mental health diagnosis, if appropriate, and recommendations for individualized supports and services. 

THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAMS

I. School Level
  • A school threat assessment team shall be headed by the principal or administrative designee and shall include the assistant principal(s), the school counselor(s), a school psychologist, and a law enforcement representative. Other school staff may serve on the team and/or be consulted during the threat assessment process, as determined by the principal or administrative designee. For threats requiring the involvement of the school threat assessment team, the principal or designee shall determine which members of the team shall be involved.
  • In fulfilling statutory responsibilities, school threat assessment teams shall:
    • Conduct the assessment of and intervention with individuals who may pose a threat to the safety of the school staff or students;
    • Provide guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening behavior by, among other ways, conducting presentations, broadly disseminating relevant information, and ensuring access to consultation from teams;
    • Clearly identify the person(s) to whom members of the school community are to report threats and;
    • Implement FCPS policies, regulations, and procedures for the assessment of and intervention with individuals who may pose a threat to the safety of students and school staff, including, in appropriate cases, referrals to community services boards or health care providers for evaluation or treatment (Code of Virginia § 22.1-79.4.C.).
II. Division Level
  • The Frederick County Public Schools’ threat assessment team shall oversee and provide support for school threat assessment teams.
    • The team shall include individuals with expertise in human resources, education, school administration, mental health, and law enforcement (Code of Virginia § 22.1-79.4).
    • The Frederick County Public Schools’ threat assessment team shall provide oversight to school level threat assessment teams; ensure that procedures are maintained for effective information sharing between the school division, community mental health, and law enforcement agencies; assess the effectiveness of the threat assessment process throughout the school division; and recommend changes to policies, regulations, and procedures, as needed, to ensure an effective threat assessment process reflecting known best practices.

PROCEDURES FOR SCHOOL THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAMS

Identifying and Reporting Threats

  • When an individual makes a threat or engages in concerning communications or behaviors that may pose a threat to the safety of students or school staff, the Frederick County Public Schools’ Student Threat Assessment Procedures shall be followed. 
  • Disciplinary action and referral to law enforcement are to occur when required by FCPS policy or regulation or by the Code of Virginia. 
  • Threats of suicide require compliance with Code of Virginia § 22.1-272.1 and with applicable FCPS policies and regulations. 
  • Individuals who are determined to be at risk for self-harm, but are not deemed to be suicidal, may be required to have a mental health assessment by a school- or community-based, clinically qualified professional. 
  • When threats of self-harm are accompanied by threats to harm others, or investigation suggests the existence of a threat to others, the threat assessment team shall be notified and take appropriate action to prevent acts of violence. 
  • All school division employees, students, parents, coaches, volunteers, and contractors are required to report immediately to a school administrator any expression of intent to harm self or others, concerning communications, or concerning behaviors that suggest an individual may intend to commit an act of violence. 
  • Anyone who believes that a person or situation poses a clear and immediate threat of serious violence shall notify the principal or designee. 
  • The principal or designee shall report threats to the local law enforcement agency in accordance with Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.3:1. In addition, the principal or designee may report other threats to the local law enforcement agency, as necessary and appropriate. 
  • The principal or designee shall immediately report any act noted above that may constitute a criminal offense to the parents and/or legal guardians of any minor student who is alleged to have committed the act and shall report that the incident has been reported to local law enforcement, as required by law. The principal or designee shall inform the parents and/or legal guardians that they may contact local law enforcement for further information, if desired. 

Assessing and Intervening Threats
  • When a threat is reported, the principal or designee shall initiate an investigative process and, in consultation with the threat assessment team, make a determination of the seriousness of the threat as expeditiously as possible in accordance with the Frederick County Public Schools Student Threat Assessment Procedures. 
  • Imminent Threat 
    • If the individual appears to pose a clear and immediate threat of serious violence, the principal or designee shall notify law enforcement in accordance with FCPS policies and regulations and the Code of Virginia. 
    • The subject individual will be immediately contained and action shall be taken to protect the identified target(s). 
    • The principal or designee shall immediately notify the superintendent or designee of the threat. 
    • The principal or designee shall immediately attempt to notify the parents or legal guardians of both the subject student and identified target(s). 
    • Following the immediate containment of the subject individual and action to protect identified target(s), the threat assessment team will conduct/coordinate an appropriate mental health assessment for the subject individual. Parents or legal guardians may seek a second opinion, through a clinically qualified professional of their choice, at their own expense. 
    • The subject individual may be required to undergo a mental health evaluation at their expense or the expense of the parent/legal guardian and prior to their of the subject student’s readmission to school. 
    • The Threat Assessment and Response Form is to be completed and a case manager is to be assigned. The case manager shall monitor the status of the subject individual and notify the threat assessment team of any change in status or additional information that would be cause for a reassessment. 
    • A safety plan will be developed for the subject individual and the identified target(s) by the threat assessment team members. 
    • A readmission meeting must be held with the subject student and parent or legal guardian prior to the subject student’s return to school. 
  • High/Moderate Risk Threat 
    • Upon a determination that an individual poses a threat of violence or physical harm to someone other than themself, the principal or designee shall immediately notify the superintendent or the superintendent’s designee of the threat. 
    • The principal or designee shall immediately attempt to notify the parents or legal guardians of both the subject student and identified target(s). 
    • The Threat Assessment and Response Form is to be completed and a case manager is to be assigned. The case manager shall monitor the status of the subject individual and notify the threat assessment team of any change in status or additional information that would be cause for are-assessment. 
    • The threat assessment team shall develop, implement, and monitor an individualized plan to intervene and reduce the threat. The individualized plan is to be documented in the Threat Assessment and Response Report. 
      • When the threat assessment team determines a threat to be HIGH risk, a mental health assessment is to be conducted/coordinated by the threat assessment team. 
      • The individual may not return to school until the mental health assessment has been completed by the clinically qualified professional identified by the threat assessment team. 
      • Parents or legal guardians may seek a second opinion, through a clinically qualified professional of their choice, at their own expense. 
      • The subject individual may be required to undergo a mental health evaluation at their expense or the expense of the parent/legal guardian and prior to their or the student’s readmission to school. 
      • A safety plan may be developed by school staff for the subject individual and identified target(s), if appropriate. 
      • A readmission meeting must be held with the student and parent or legal guardian prior to the subject student’s return to school. 
      • When the threat assessment team determines a threat to be a MODERATE risk, a mental health assessment may be conducted/coordinated by the threat assessment team. 
      • If an assessment is required, then the subject individual or student may not return to school until the assessment has been completed. 
      • Parents or legal guardians may seek a second opinion, through a clinically qualified professional of their choice, at their own expense. 
      • A safety plan may be developed by school staff for the subject individual and identified target(s), if appropriate. 
      • A readmission meeting must be held with the subject student and parent or legal guardian prior to the subject student’s return to school. 
  • Low Risk or No Risk Threat 
    • If it is determined that the threat is low risk or no risk and that no further assessment or intervention is required at the time, a case manager does not need to be assigned and the Threat Assessment and Response Form does not need to be completed. 
    • If the individual requires further assessment or intervention, the threat assessment team shall refer the individual for assistance from the appropriate school- and/or community-based resources and assign a case manager to monitor the individual’s progress. The referral(s) and all actions taken shall be noted in the school’s threat assessment database. 
    • The parents or legal guardians of the subject student and identified target(s) may be notified at the discretion of the building principal or designee. 

Cross Reference:
DCJS Threat Assessment in Virginia Public Schools: Model Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines (2013).
Policy 224P, Administration – Threat Assessment Teams
Policy 413P, Students – Suicide Prevention
Regulation 413R, Students – Suicide Prevention
Policy 221P, Administration  School Crisis, Emergency Management and Medical Emergency Response Plan
Regulation 221R, Administration – School Crisis and Emergency Management Plan
Regulation 402R, Students – Code of Student Conduct


Legal Reference:
Code of Virginia § 22.1-79.4.C.
Code of Virginia § 22.1-272.1
Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.3:1


Approved: August 25, 2014
Amended: July 1, 2015
Amended: July 13, 2016
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