The moments when a potentially dangerous incident or intruder is detected at a school are critical, and the the B.C. government has produced new steps for police and school staff to take when danger appears.
B.C.’s school safety program has been boosted with new guidelines for police, principals and staff when an incident is unfolding that requires search and seizure or other emergency procedures. The protocols were released Thursday at the B.C. legislature, funded by $1.2 million this year to expand the ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) strategy.
“Our government continues to be the only province in Canada with a comprehensive provincial strategy for addressing and responding to harmful and threatening behaviour,” Education Minister Rob Fleming said. “We want all B.C. students to learn in a safe environment, free from discrimination, bullying harassment, intimidation and violence.”
The guideline was a joint project with the Abbotsford Police Department, Nelson Police Department, Surrey RCMP, Victoria Police Department, RCMP ‘E’ Division and the North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Other partners were the Kootenay Lake and Vancouver school districts, which have district safe school co-ordinators.
The ERASE strategy began in 2012, and has been expanded to fund school-based gang prevention initiatives and mental wellness programs for students, parents and educators. It includes support for the ministry’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) program.
“This protocol is a great step forward to improve communication and collaboration between police and education partners in our shared commitment to build on current safety initiatives,” said Supt. Ted De Jager, head of the South Okanagan-Similkameen RCMP and president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police.