School Safety

School Safety

In the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District, the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. Our commitment to providing a safe and caring learning environment is captured not only in individual school codes of conduct, but also in a number of district policies, including Policy 9410 Safe, Caring and Healthy Schools, Policy 9415: Inclusive Schools, Policy 9420 Dangerous Weapons in the Schools, and Policy 9500 Suspension and Exclusion of Students from School. *

The school district works closely with Ridge Meadows RCMP and other community partners to develop procedures that keep our school communities safe, and reviews these procedures periodically to see where additional improvements can be made.

More information about our school safety procedures and protocols is provided below.

* (For all school district policies, see the SD42 online Policy Manual.)

School Safety Notification System
  • Terminology

    Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District No. 42 has developed a School Safety Notification System in collaboration with Ridge Meadows RCMP to keep students, staff and volunteers safe. While it is impossible to anticipate all eventualities, the notifications below are used as a guide to conduct these procedures effectively:

    Drop, Cover and Hold – Used in the event of an earthquake, explosion, or any event that shakes the school.

    Hold and Secure – Used when there is a security concern, such as a police incident, in the neighbourhood of the school.

    Lockdown – Used to prevent intruders from entering occupied areas of the school, or in times when it is necessary to isolate students and staff from a danger outside or within the building.

    Shelter in Place – Used as a short-term measure to protect students and staff from potential dangers outside the school (e.g. environmental weather-related emergencies, dangerous wild animals on school grounds, or a missing child).

    Evacuate – Used to move people out of the school when a hazard exists inside. May include floods, potential fire, or a bomb threat.

    Room Clear – Used to move people away from a hazard contained in one room/area

     

    Learn more about our School Safety Notification System.

  • Public Notice

    When the School Safety Notification System (SSNS) is activated, the school district works with the school and (in cases where they are present) first responders on the scene to get an accurate sense of the event that has prompted the SSNS response.

    Once this information is secured and verified, the school district then shares with parents/guardians all details that had been approved for release.* Typically, information is posted in the following order:

    • Direct message to parents/guardians through the parent portal;
    • A post to the school website;
    • A post to the school district website (as appropriate);
    • A post on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

    In many cases, the SSNS event is brief and the all-clear is given before the school district is able to post notice. In such cases, notification is likely to be limited to direct communication through the parent portal and/or a post to the school website.

    * The school district is often limited in the amount of information it is able to share publicly. This is particularly true in cases related to police investigations or in situations where the school district must consider its legal obligations to protect student privacy. In such circumstances, the school district will share all information that has been approved for public release.

Threat Response: Fair Notice

Violence and threats of violence are taken very seriously in the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District. As such, the district provides parents/guardians with a Fair Notice about its Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) policies and protocols.

As a part of this Fair Notice, we advise that:

  • Staff, parents/guardians, students and community members must report all threat-related behaviours;
  • All threats must be taken seriously, investigated and responded to;
  • All threats are investigated by the school’s multi-disciplinary Threat Assessment Team, which may include the principal, vice-principal, school counsellor, a member of the Safe and Caring School team, and police;
  • The threat assessment process may include interviews with students, the threat maker, parents/guardians and staff to determine the level of risk and to develop an appropriate response;
  • The threat assessment process will continue even if the threat maker or parent/guardian refuses to participate;
  • Interventions plans are developed and shared with parents/guardians, staff and students as required.
Threat Response: Letters to School Communities

Although the majority of threats or rumours of potential threats are ultimately determined without cause and/or not credible, the school district nevertheless takes all threats seriously and investigates them thoroughly.

In the event of a threat or rumours of a potential threat, the school advises the school district and contacts the Ridge Meadows RCMP, who conduct a careful investigation and respond as appropriate. Once the RCMP complete their work, district Safe and Caring Schools personnel conduct their own investigation, which may include a Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) – a process designed to ensure the continued safety of students and staff.

In cases where the RCMP determine that a public safety message is warranted, the school, school district and Ridge Meadows RCMP work together to prepare and issue a timely and factual public notice. In cases where the RCMP determine there is no threat and a public safety message is not required, the school will typically limit its communications to the parents/guardians whose children may have been involved in the investigation.

Staff, parents/guardians, students and community members should report all threat-related behaviours directly to the school. Similarly, parents/guardians or students who have concerns about a threat or about rumours of a potential threat should contact the school principal directly. Please be aware that social media is not a good source of information in such situations as it typically provides information that is sensationalistic, inaccurate, and potentially detrimental to any ongoing investigation.

Suspicious Person Notice

From time to time, the Ridge Meadows RCMP will issue a Suspicious Person Notice to raise public awareness about a concerning incident that occurred in the community and to get public help in identifying the individual(s) involved. While the school district shares such notices with parents/guardians on the parent portal, the messages themselves can only be prepared and approved by the RCMP.

To file a suspicious person report, please contact the Ridge Meadows RCMP directly. If you feel that the school community should be made aware of the incident, follow-up with the school principal so that the school is aware you have made a police report. Please be aware, however, that the final decision to issue a Suspicious Person Notice will ultimately rest with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.

Other School Safety Concerns

If you have other school safety concerns involving your child, please follow the school district problem solving process for school-based concerns: https://www.sd42.ca/appeal-process/

Our vision
Our vision is for every individual to feel valued and for all learners to reach their potential.
Our mission
Our mission is to support all individuals in their development as successful learners, and as respectful, caring and responsible members of society.