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THREAT ASSESSMENT

Definitions

“Harmful, threatening, or violent, behavior” includes behaviors, such as verbal threats, threats of self-harm, bullying cyberbullying, fighting, the use or possession of a weapon, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, stalking, or assault, by a student that could result in:

  1. Specific interventions, including mental health or behavioral supports;
  2. In-school suspension;
  3. Out-of-school suspension; or
  4. The student’s expulsion or removal to a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) or a juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP).

“Team” means a threat assessment and safe and supportive school team established by the Board under Education Code 37.115.

Education Code 37.115(a)

Threat Assessment Team

The Board establishes a threat assessment and safe and supportive school team to serve the School and the team shall adopt procedures.

The team is responsible for developing and implementing the safe and supportive school program in compliance with Texas Education Agency (TEA) rules.

The policies and procedures adopted under Education Code 37.115 must:

  1. Be consistent with the model policies and procedures developed by the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) [see Education Code 37.220];
  2. Require each team to complete training provided by the TxSSC or a regional education service center (ESC) regarding evidence-based threat assessment programs; and
  3. Require each team established under this section to report the required information regarding the team’s activities to TEA [see Reporting to TEA, below].

Membership

The Superintendent shall ensure that the members appointed to the team have expertise in counseling, behavior management, mental health and substance use, classroom instruction, special education, school administration, school safety and security, emergency management, and law enforcement. 

Oversight Committee

The Superintendent may establish a committee, or assign to an existing committee the duty to oversee the operations of the team.  A committee with oversight responsibility must include members with expertise in human resources, education, special education, counseling, behavior management, school administration, mental health and substance use, school safety and security, emergency management, and law enforcement.

Team Duties

Each team shall:

  1. Conduct a threat assessment that includes assessing and reporting individuals who make threats of violence or exhibit harmful, threatening, or violent behavior in accordance with TSBVI policies and procedures; and gathering and analyzing data to determine the level of risk and appropriate intervention, including;
    1. Referring a student for mental health assessment; and
    2. Implementing an escalation procedure, if appropriate, based on the team’s assessment, in accordance with School policy.
  2. Provide guidance to students and school employees on recognizing harmful, threatening, or violent behavior that may pose a threat to the community, school, or individual; and
  3. Support the School in implementing TSBVI’s multihazard emergency operations plan [see CKC].

Consent for Mental Health-Care Service

A team may not provide a mental health-care service to a student who is under 18 years of age unless the team obtains written consent from the parent of or the person standing in parental relation to the student before providing the mental health-care service.  The consent must be submitted on a form developed by TSBVI that complies with all applicable state and federal law.  The student’s parent of person standing in parental relation to the student may give consent for student to receive ongoing services or may limit consent to one or more services provided on a single occasion.

Education Code 37.115(d)-(g)

Determination of Risk

On determination that a student or other individual poses a serious risk of violence to self or others, the team shall immediately report the team’s determination to the Superintendent.  If the individual is a student, the Superintendent shall immediately attempt to inform the parent or person standing in parental relation to the student.  These requirements do not prevent an employee of the School from acting immediately to prevent an imminent threat or respond to an emergency.

The team identifying a student at risk of suicide shall act in accordance with TSBVI’s suicide prevention program.  If the student at risk of suicide also makes a threat of violence to others, the team shall conduct a threat assessment in addition to actions taken in accordance with the School’s suicide prevention program.

In connection with an assessment of serious risk of violence to self or others, the team identifying a student using or possessing tobacco, drugs, or alcohol shall act in accordance with TSBVI policies and procedures related to substance use prevention and intervention.

Education Code 37.115(h)-(j)

Reporting to TEA

The team must report to TEA in accordance with TEA-developed guidelines the following information regarding the team’s activities and other information:

  1. The occupation of each person appointed to the team;
  2. The number of threats and description of the type of threats reported to the team;
  3. The outcome of each assessment made by the team, including;
    1. Any disciplinary action taken, including a chance in school placement;
    2. Any action taken by law enforcement; or
    3. A referral to or change in counseling, mental health, special education, or other services;
  4. The total number, disaggregated by student gender, race, and status as receiving special education services, being at risk of dropping out of school, being in foster care, experiencing homelessness, being a dependent of military personnel, being pregnant or a parent, having limited English proficiency, or being a migratory child, in connection with an assessment or reported threat by the team;
    1. Citations issued for Class C misdemeanor offenses;
    2. Arrests;
    3. Incidents of uses of restraints;
    4. Changes in school placement, including placement in a JJAEP or DAEP;
    5. Referrals to or changes in counseling, mental health, special education, or other services;
    6. Placements in in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension and incidents of expulsion;
    7. Unexcused absences of 15 or more days during the school year; and
    8. Referrals to juvenile court for truancy; and
  5. The number and percentage of school personnel trained in:
    1. A best-practices program or research-based practice under Health and Safety Code 161.325, including the number and percentage of school personnel trained in suicide prevention of grief and trauma-informed practices;
    2. Mental health or psychological first aid for schools;
    3. Training relating to the safe and supportive school program; or
    4. Any other program relating to safety identified by the commissioner.

Education Code 37.115(k)

RECOMMENDED PROGRAMS

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), in coordination with TEA and regional education service centers (ESCs), shall provide and annually update a list of recommended best practice-based programs and research-based programs and research-based practices in the areas specified below.  TSBVI may select from the list a program or programs appropriate for implementation.  The list is available on the websites of TEA, ESC 13 and TDSHS.

The list must include programs and practices in the following areas:

  1. Early mental health intervention;
  2. Mental health promotion;
  3. Substance abuse prevention and intervention;
  4. Building skills to manage emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and responsible decision-making;
  5. Suicide prevention;
  6. Grief-informed and trauma-informed practices;
  7. Positive behavior interventions and supports and positive youth development; and
  8. Safe, supportive, and positive school climate.

“School climate” means the quality and character of school life, including interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures, as experienced by students enrolled in TSBVI, parents of those students, and personnel employed by the School.

The programs on the list must include components that provide for training counselors, teachers, nurses, administrators, and social workers who regularly interact with students, to:

  1. Recognize students at risk of committing suicide, including students who are or may be the victims of or who engage in bullying;
  2. Recognize students displaying early warning signs and a possible need for early mental health or substance abuse intervention, which warning signs may include declining academic performance, depression, anxiety, isolation, unexplained changes in sleep or eating habits, and destructive behavior toward self and others; and
  3. Intervene effectively with students described by items 1 or 2 above, by providing notice and referral to a parent or guardian so appropriate action, such as seeking mental health or substance abuse services, may be taken by a parent or guardian.

TRAINING

TSBVI shall provide training described in the components set forth above for teachers, school counselors, principals, and all other appropriate personnel.  The School is required to provide the training at an elementary school campus only to the extent that sufficient funding and programs are available.  The School may implement a program on the list to satisfy the training requirements so that every school employee with direct student contact receives the training at least once.  [See DMA]

POLICY AND PROCEDURES

The Board hereby adopts this policy concerning mental health promotion and intervention, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention and TSBVI may develop practices and procedures that:

  1. Provide educational material to all School parents and families that contains information on identifying risk factors, accessing resources for treatment or support provided on and off campus, and accessing available student accommodations provided on campus;
  2. Provide notice of a recommendation for early mental health or substance abuse intervention regarding a student to a parent or guardian of the student within a reasonable amount of time after the identification of early warning signs, which may include declining academic performance, depression, anxiety, isolation, unexplained changes in sleep or eating habits, and destructive behavior toward self and others;
  3. Provide notice of a student identified as at risk of committing suicide to a parent or guardian of the student within a reasonable amount of time after the identification of early warning signs through the Health Center and team meetings;
  4. Establish that TSBVI may develop a reporting mechanism and may designate the Special Education Director to act as a liaison officer for the purposes of identifying students for referral and evaluation of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention; and
  5. Set out available alternatives for a parent or guardian to consider when his or her child is identified as possibly being in need of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention by TSBVI working in collaboration with the resident school district and local mental health resources.

These practices and any necessary procedures adopted must be included in the annual student handbook and the TSBVI annual improvement plan under Education Code 11.252.  [See BQ]

Without the prior consent of a student’s parent/guardian, this policy prohibits the use of a medical screening of the entire student population as part of the process of identifying whether a student is possibly in need of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention.  Upon suspicion or demonstration of individual student concern or need, appropriate evaluation with the Health Center will occur to assist the student and parents will be notified.

Crisis Intervention

TSBVI provides services to improve students’ mental, emotional, and social health.  These services include multidisciplinary school based evaluations, counseling and social skills groups.  Evaluations may include recommendations for follow up services from community based mental health providers. Social workers, licensed specialists in school psychology, and school nurses contribute to the team process of monitoring the behavior, health and wellbeing of students in the School and residential setting.

TSBVI policy and procedures are not intended to interfere with the rights of parents or guardians and the decision-making regarding the best interest of the child.  School policy and procedures are intended to notify a parent or guardian of a need for mental health or substance abuse intervention so that a parent or guardian may take appropriate action.  TSBVI does not have the authority to prescribe medications.  Any and all medical decisions are to be made by a parent or guardian of a student.

Health and Safety Code 161.325

IMMUNITY

These requirements do not waive any immunity from liability for TSBVI, its officers or employees, create any liability for a cause of action against TSBVI, its officers or employees, or waive any immunity from liability under Civil Practice and Remedies Code 74.151.  Health and Safety Code 161.326

Adopted:         8/9/18

Amended:       1/31/20

Reviewed: