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New protocol will help prevent violence in Langley schools

The Columbine school shooting is one tragedy that is forever etched in most people’s minds as the first of its kind. Having potentially explosive students walk among the school population is a scary reality in every district, in every country.

But now Langley School District has come up with a “Violent Threat Risk Assessment Protocol, that aims to reach out to students before they act out.

Langley School District is one of very few school districts in Metro Vancouver to get all its community partners to have this new protocol that will promote safety in schools, said assistant superintendent Claire Guy. A signing ceremony was held at the Jan. 28 Board of Education meeting.

“We want to address problems before they start,” said Guy. This will be a multi-disciplinary approach where all the various partners will be engaged including  parents.

“We take threats of violence very seriously,” said Guy.

The new protocol allows for all agencies from police to counsellors to share information about a student. Prior to this protocol, information was deemed confidential and therefore, background about a student couldn’t be shared among the various agencies, she said.

Langley RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke and other officers, Langley Youth and Family Services Jim Smith, a member of Options, and others from the Community Justice Initiatives Centre, and the Ministry of Children and Families were on hand to sign the new protocol.

“The goal is to work together to prevent violent incidents in our schools,” said Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman.

Creating this protocol has been in the works since 2011. It’s been a huge undertaking but one that could save lives, said Guy.

“When a child does act out violently, often the parents are quoted by the media as saying they had no idea. This protocol will help prevent that,” said Trustee Megan Dykeman.

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