Students may sometimes behave in ways that suggest the threat of violence to themselves or to others. Threatening behaviors may be spoken, written or gestured. To maintain a safe learning environment for all students, Chesterfield County Public Schools takes every threat seriously.
Every threat is investigated by a school-based team of professionals led by a building administrator that includes student support services staff members. The threat-assessment team, which is trained annually, follows a procedure developed by the University of Virginia that is used by hundreds of schools. If a student threat to harm self or others comes to the attention of the threat-assessment team, members of the group will conduct an assessment to determine how serious the threat is and what can be done to prevent it from being carried out. In most cases, students who are considering acts of violence will communicate their intent to peers, teachers or family members. Therefore, it is vital for everyone to be aware of and report all student threats of violence so that assessments can take place and steps can be taken to prevent threats from being carried out.
The threat-assessment process involves collecting information about the student through interviews with the student, parents, friends, teachers and others, as well as a review of the student’s school file. The student is always seen the day the referral is received, and parents are always contacted. An action plan is completed, detailing what the team has concluded and seeking parental support in resolving the threat. In some cases involving out-of-school assistance or intervention, a follow-up plan is developed jointly by parents, school professionals and other interventionists to support the student’s transition back into the school community.
The threat-assessment process does not eliminate discipline procedures outlined in the standards for student conduct (School Board Policy 4010-R). At the end of the threat-assessment process, parents receive copies of the action plan summary, any signed agreements, the follow-up plan, and list of community resources. These documents are also filed in the student’s educational record.