Protocol signed to make schools safer

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
March 12, 2018 - 6:19pm

Local school divisions have teamed up to make their facilities safer.
On Monday, Chinook's Edge School Division, Red Deer Public Schools, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools and Olds College signed a Violent Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) protocol, joining many others across the province and country to enhance safety for students, staff, families and school communities.
Eight RCMP detachments, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Children Services, Child/Youth and Family Addictions and Mental Health, the Town of Olds, Central Alberta Community Corrections, Mountain View County, Chinook Arch Victim Services and the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response were all co-signors.
Chinook's Edge Associate Superintendent Wanda Christensen says the protocol is a proactive measure with respect to assessing risk.
"What we have learned over the last number of years is that school shooters always have a plan, someone they're communicating with. They've always told people what was going on, but no one was talking to each other," Christensen says. "So it's about connecting the dots and making sure all authorities, like mental health, educators, Child and Family Services, the RCMP would be communicating, connecting and talking."
Prior to Monday's signing at Chinook's Edge offices, there was a written memorandum of understanding between some parties. Christensen says the protocol is more formal and outlines more of the steps to take in a situation.
If they haven't already, school divisions will be communicating the details of the protocol and steps to take in the case of a threat to students and parents in the near future.
Last Wednesday, March 7, there was a threat made by a female student at Innisfail High School. RCMP confirm there never was an actual risk, but the girl was arrested and charged. There was no lockdown or hold and secure.
On March 2, a social media threat put Red Deer's Hunting Hills High School on lockdown. Eventually, three male youths were charged.

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