CITY OF RAPID CITY, SD
Mayor Jim Shaw

SCHOOL THREAT ASSESSMENT RESPONSE (STAR)

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The School Threat Assessment response (STAR) protocol was designed to provide for a mechanism to assure that threats of violence in the school environment are addressed whenever possible, before acts of violence occur. The process involves a variety of elements, ranging from student, parents, teacher, staff member and administrative involvement to law enforcement and other criminal justice component participation. The protocol is designed specifically for those violence issues that affect schools and the students who attend those schools. It is intended to identify credible threats of violence and address those threats and the individual making the threat before the threat is carried out. The protocol is applicable to any school sponsored event or function, whether the event or function be school property or not.

SCHOOL THREAT ASSESSMENT RESPONSE (S.T.A.R.) PROTOCAL

RAPID CITY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT

RAPID CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

PENNINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

PENNINGTON COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

MISSION STATEMENT: The purpose behind this protocol is to provide for a mechanism to assure that threats of violence in a school environment are addressed, whenever possible, before they occur. The process necessarily involves a variety of elements, ranging from student, parent, teacher, staff member and administration involvement to law enforcement and other criminal justice component participation. The protocol is designed specifically for those violence issues that affect schools and the students who attend those schools. It is intended to identify credible threats of violence and address those threats and the individual making the threat before the threat is carried out. NOTE: This protocol is applicable during any school sponsored event or function, whether the event or function be on school property or not.

DEFINITIONS: For purposes of this protocol, the following definitions apply:

1. Threatened Act of Violence: Any threat or action that suggests the possibility that serious physical injury or death may be caused to another.

2. Rapid City Area School Staff Member: Any employee of the Rapid City School District.

3. Rapid City Area School Administrator: Any Rapid City School District principal or their designee.

4. STAR Team Members: STAR Team officers and deputies, responsible for first response and threat assessment, shall include all Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff’s Office School Liaison Officers. These personnel shall be referred to generally as STAR Team Officers. Additionally, the STAR Team shall consist of three (3) designated prosecutors from the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, who shall be referred to as STAR Team prosecutors.

5. STAR Team Coordinators: The coordinators of the STAR Team , responsible for oversight of this protocol, shall include the Pennington County State’s Attorney or his designee, the Rapid City Police Department Chief of Police or his designee, and the Pennington County Sheriff or his designee.

PROCEDURE: The following procedure is separated into several sections in order to reflect those instances where a threatened act of violence may be received by specific individuals.

I. Any Rapid City Area school student, upon receiving information that a person is threatening to commit an act of violence, shall:

A. Assume the threat is serious;

B. Immediately report the threat to a parent or guardian, school staff member, school administrator or law enforcement officer;

C. Be available and cooperative in providing a statement of information, with the understanding that the information source (the student) will remain anonymous to the greatest extent possible.

II. Any Rapid City Area school parent or guardian, upon receiving information that a person is threatening to commit an act of violence, shall:

A. Assume the threat is serious;

B. Immediately report the threat to a school staff member, school administrator or law enforcement officer;

C. Be available and cooperative in providing a statement of information, with the understanding that the information source (the parent or guardian) will remain anonymous to the greatest extent possible.

III. Any Rapid City Area School Staff Member, upon receiving information that a person is threatening to commit an act of violence, shall:

A. Assume the threat is serious;

B. Immediately report the threat to the school administrator or their designee;

C. Be available and cooperative in providing a statement of information, with the understanding that the information source (the staff member) will remain anonymous to the greatest extent possible.

IV. Any Rapid City Area School Administrator, upon receiving information that a person is threatening to commit an act of violence, shall:

A. Assume the threat is serious;

B. Cause the student making the threat, if said student is on campus, to be immediately removed from the classroom and segregated into a secured area pending further investigation

C. Immediately notify the STAR Team Officer assigned to the school and provide the team member with complete information regarding the threat received;

D. Secure a written statement from the school staff member, regarding the information received.

V. The STAR Team Officer, upon being notified that a threat to commit an act of violence has occurred, shall:

A. Assume the threat is serious;

B. Immediately conduct an assessment interview of the subject making the threat. This assessment interview will include at least one (1) STAR Team Officer and the administrator or his designee.

1. NOTE: The primary purpose of the interview is to engage in an assessment of the available information, in an attempt to determine the veracity of the threat, in order to decide what level of follow-up action is needed and appropriate.

VI. Once the assessment is complete, the STAR Team Officer and administrator shall convene privately to discuss the threat and consider options for follow-up action:

A. If it is agreed that the threat is credible, the STAR Team Officer shall immediately contact a STAR Team Prosecutor to discuss possible options for the subject making the threat. These options may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

1. Contacting the subject’s parent(s) or guardian for input and assistance, including potential voluntary committal of the subject making the threat, or voluntary placement in a juvenile diversion program through the State’s Attorney’s Office;

2. Application of the Child in Need of Supervision (C.H.I.N.S) process through parental or guardian assistance, or through the State’s Attorney’s Office.

3. Communication between the STAR Team Prosecutor and the school administrator regarding school sanctions.

4. Arrest and incarceration of the subject for Disturbance of School;

5. Arrest and incarceration of the subject for Disorderly Conduct;

6. Arrest and incarceration of the subject for simple or aggravated assault;

7. Arrest and incarceration of the subject for probation violation, if the student is a court ordered probationer;

8. Placement of the subject at the psychiatric unit on an involuntary mental hold.

B. If it is agreed that the threat is not credible, or does not require application of the options listed in section "A," the school administrator shall assume responsibility to institute any further action deemed necessary.

VII. Once an option is chosen and initiated, the STAR Team Members involved in the process shall engage in fulfilling the reporting requirements associated with the action taken:

A. The STAR Team Member, upon exercising any of the aforementioned options, shall immediately complete reports relevant to the event and the action taken and assure that copies of these documents are provided to:

 1. The State’s Attorney’s Office;

2. The involved School Administrator;

3. The STAR Team coordinators.

B. Original reports are to be routed through the law enforcement records management system per usual procedure.

VIII. After-Action Considerations:

A. Periodically, as deemed necessary by the STAR Team Coordinators, a meeting will be held to discuss recent STAR cases, in order to determine the effectiveness of this protocol. Meeting attendees should include:

1. The Pennington County State’s Attorney or his designee;

2. The Rapid City Police Department Chief of Police or his designee:

3. The Rapid City Area School District superintendent or his designee;

4. The Chief Court Services Officer or his designee;

5. The Pennington County Sheriff or his designee;

6. Designated STAR Officers.

2. When was the program created and why?

The STAR protocol was created in July and August of 1998. Shortly after the 1997/1998 school year ended, a meeting was held involving the administrators of the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office, 7th Judicial Circuit Court, and the Rapid City Area School District. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the incidents of school violence that had occurred nationwide the previous year, and to attempt to determine ways through which the Rapid City area could address the issue of threats of violence in our schools, and respond to those issues before they escalated to actual violence. It was agreed that it has become necessary to assume that each threat of violence has the potential to result in actual violence, and that law enforcement and educators have a responsibility to the school community and the community at large to take threats of violence seriously and deal with them aggressively. This agreement occurred with the understanding that despite the best intentions of all concerned, intervention cannot occur in all instances of school violence. The success of the program greatly depends upon the willingness of students, parents, educators and law enforcement officers to take seriously threats of violence they become aware of, and to activate the STAR procedure so these events can be addressed and dealt with. A sub-committee was assigned to develop a procedure to address those instances involving threatened acts of violence, and to include in that procedure the methodology for immediately and definitively dealing with the threat.

3. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?

The protocol will be implemented at the beginning of the 1998/1999 calendar school year, which begins August 31, 1998. The STAR officers (liaison officers) assigned to the schools have received training in their role and responsibilities in the protocol, and the School District has made the protocol part of their orientation sessions for Staff prior to the school year beginning. Additionally, the protocol has been given to the media for public consumption, and parents of students will be made aware of the protocol through their respective schools. The protocol calls for periodic assessments of the incidents investigated, to determine if the protocol works effectively, and to determine if the desired results have been achieved. Adjustments to the protocol will be made as necessary throughout the school year, and a full assessment will be conducted at the end of the school year, with further protocol adjustments made as necessary before school resumes again next year.

4. How is the program financed?

The program is not dependent on monetary resources separate from existing resources available within the involved agencies. It is not envisioned that there will be any adjunctive costs to effectively operate the program, since it involves the utilization of school and law enforcement officials already engaged in activity intended to provide for a safe school environment.

5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all. How has the community responded to the program?

There is no direct involvement on the part of the community, other than community awareness and the involvement of parents of school children. Parental involvement relies directly on the willingness of parents to report information when they receive it, and their willingness to cooperate with school and law enforcement authorities when incidents occur.

6. Contact person:

Captain Christopher M. Grant

Rapid City Police Department

300 Kansas City Street

Rapid City, SD 57701

(605) 394-4133

Fax (605) 394-6854

E-mail - christophergrant@compuserve.com or compuserve75761,3401

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