A Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I will be sending out monthly letters via email to all families in our district highlighting important issues and/or events taking place in our schools. As many of you know threats to schools and students have become all to commonplace; especially thru social media. This message will hopefully give you a sense of what we are doing in our district and schools to address threats.
Our district has spent the last six months training teams within our schools to address the issues of student threats, called Threat Assessment. We also have joined a regional support group through the Northeast Washington Education Service District 101 to deal with these threats on a greater level. The system was initially designed and implemented in the state of Oregon and is known as the Salem-Keizer System.
A threat assessment system uses early interventions to keep students safe. Using an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach, it identifies, evaluates and supports students who present a potential threat to themselves or others.
At each level, the teams work with students, families and the community to provide wraparound supports designed to break negative patterns and steer youth in a positive direction.
Here is how the threat assessment system works:
When a student or students are identified as a potential risk to themselves or others, they are assessed using a two-tier approach:
A trained school-based team, including a school administrator, a counselor/mental health representative, teachers, and a law enforcement officer, work together to understand the threat, the risk, and identifies resources the school has to address it. The team goes through a progressive series of scripted questions to determine the viability of the threat. This process includes multiple interviews with the specific student, students who have been threatened, witnesses, the parents/guardians, law enforcement, counselors and teachers. It is an extremely thorough process.
The team then creates a plan and recommendation. The plan includes, but is not limited to, monitoring, behavior modification, interventions, increased supervision and referrals for additional services.
If the school team determines the situation is high risk, that it needs help with the investigation, or it lacks necessary resources, it calls in a community-based multi-disciplinary team. This team has members of the Medical Lake School District, NEWESD101, Spokane County Sheriff's Office, Spokane County Mental Health, Response Crisis Team, Spokane County Juvenile Court Authority and local hospitals mental health providers. This team follows a similar process as the Level 1 team above but is also able to provide greater service and resources to our district and the students and families involved. It is an all-hands-on-deck approach giving us support through what can be a very difficult process.
In closing, over the last six months our entire staff, plus middle school and high school students received an informational presentation from Safer Schools Together (SST) entitled “Digital Threat Assessment”. The purpose was to identify the dangers and consequences of social media. Also, a theme presented was “See something, say something, and do something.” We continue to work with the SST to assist us in the investigation of social media activity.
Please click this link for free parent resources from Safer Schools Together. Use the code SSTPAL2018 to access the “Raising Digitally Responsible Youth Parents Guide” located on their page.
I am pleased that many of our students are stepping up and reporting, and when they do we have a thorough process in place to do something. Student safety is our top priority and we value the commitment of staff and students in helping us keep everyone safe. I encourage you to partner with us as well. If you see something, do not hesitate to say something to your student’s teacher, counselors, our school resource deputy sheriff and/or building principal
Mr. Tim Ames