Employers, unions and governments now recognize violence in the workplace as an occupational
hazard which can be prevented or minimized. While workers in the health care, retail and transit
industries tend to be more at risk, workplace violence can occur in any sector – including Education.
1.1 Purpose and Goal
It is goal of the Durham District School Board to provide a secure, healthy and safe environment for
its staff and students. All practical steps shall be taken to establish and maintain such an
The purpose of this program is to present all existing policy and processes related to workplace
violence into a single document and provide a mechanism for an annual program review.
Note: Many of the incidents involving students with special needs represent symptomatic not
intentional behaviour and would not be considered workplace violence as defined in section 3.1.
However, in keeping with the universal nature of this document, current processes relevant to staff
working with students with special needs has been included.
In Ontario there is no specific workplace violence legislation in the Occupational Health and Safety
Act or Regulations under this Act. Workplace violence in Ontario is covered under the general duty
clause of the Act. In provinces that have enacted workplace violence health and safety legislation, it
typically takes the following form –
a) Employer determines if there is a risk of violence (risk assessment).
b) Employer establishes procedures to eliminate or minimize the risk, and
c) Employer educates workers on the hazards of workplace violence and appropriate
This forms the basis of the Durham District School Board’s Workplace Violence Management
In addition to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, the following legislation also impacts
on (and in some cases is the primary legislation) violence in the workplace –
- Ontario Education Act
- Safe Schools Act under the Ontario Education Act
- Criminal Code of Canada
- Ontario Human Rights Code
The Durham District School Board is committed through shared responsibilities and continuous
improvement to provide a secure, healthy and safe environment for its staff and students. The
Durham District School Board will not tolerate acts of violence in any form.
2.0 RISK ASSESSMENT:
A workplace assessment identifies risk factors and problems specific to an organization. It will
determine the potential and degree to which an employee is exposed to violence in the workplace.
The general consensus from several school boards who have completed workplace violence risk
assessments is that there is a degree of risk for all board employees. The risk ranges from high to
low, typically as follows:
HIGH Students on Staff
Staff on Staff
LOW General Public on Staff
High risk ratings require specific control measures which are usually prescribed by regulations, codes
and standards. Moderate and low risk ratings are usually controlled by general administrative policy,
procedures and training.
The Durham District School Board conducted it’s own risk assessment that validated these findings.
Staff working with students with special needs have a high risk rating. All other categories were
moderate to low.
3.0 DEFINITION, DUTIES AND REPORTING:
3.1 Definition of Workplace Violence
The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has defined “workplace violence” as “the attempted or actual
exercise of any intentional physical force that causes or may cause physical injury to a worker”. It
also includes “any threats which give a worker reasonable grounds to believe he or she is at risk of
“Workplace” is defined as any location where any employee of the Durham District School Board is
carrying out any work-related function.
The MOL also states that “complaints regarding (employee) harassment, bullying and discrimination
on prohibited grounds may be addressed by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). The
OHRC enforces the Ontario Human Rights Code, which provides for the right to work without
For employee harassment, bullying, and discrimination refer to:
DDSB Policy #4245 – Harassment Prevention
DDSB Regulation #4245 – Harassment Prevention
DDSB Procedure #4245 – Harassment Prevention
Some acts of workplace violence and threats of acts of violence may be a criminal matter to be dealt
with by the police under Canada’s Criminal Code.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility – employer, principal/supervisor and staff. Similarly, preventing
and mitigating violence in the workplace is also everyone’s responsibility.
3.3 Employer Duties
The Durham District School Board is responsible under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and
other applicable legislation to develop, implement, and maintain a system wide Workplace Violence
Management Program. The Board will provide assistance and resources to fulfill this responsibility.
Such assistance and resources may include:
- Providing training and tools for principals/supervisors to understand and fulfill their
duties as legislated
- Providing support for staff through programs such as the Employee Assistance
Program and the “Dealing with Traumatic Events Protocol”
- Providing support for students through Psychological Services and Social Work
- Providing a secure, healthy and safe environment for all through Facility Services
3.4 Principal's/Supervisor's Duties and Reporting
Principals/Supervisors also have responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Take all reports of violence seriously
- Review the Workplace Violence Management Program every Fall with staff
- Implement prevention and mitigation practices noted in the Workplace Violence
Management Program as may be applicable
- Report incidents of workplace violence using the “Employee Violent Incident Form”
- Complete other reports as may be applicable such as the ‘Supervisors Accident
Investigation Report’ and the “Ontario School Board’s Insurance Exchange (OSBIE)
- Have in place a Safe Schools Team as per Policy/Program Memorandum No. 144
- Implement an appropriate response plan (first aid, victim support, etc.) to support the
victim(s) of violent incidents.
3.5 Staff's Duties and Reporting
Staff also have responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Report workplace violence to your principal/supervisor
- Review and be familiar with the Workplace Violence Management Program
- Participate in training/awareness as required
3.6 Program Administrator
The Manager of Health and Safety shall:
- Annually review and update this Program in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety
- Review and update this Program in accordance with new applicable legislation
- Receive “Employee Violent Incident forms” and disseminate to applicable Staff
Administrator – Special Education Officer, Safe Schools Officer, Superintendent
- The summary of Employee Violent Incident to be reviewed at each Joint Health and
Safety Committee meeting in order to determine trends.
4.0 PREVENTION AND MITIGATION:
The Workplace Violence Management Program requires Principals/Supervisors to implement
prevention and mitigation measures as may be applicable.
4.1 Physical Environment
There is no single recipe for such measures as it relates to the physical environment of your
Refer to the “Checklist for the Safety & Security of Buildings and Grounds” in the “Durham District
School Board Safe Schools Audit” for a comprehensive listing of physical environment measures.
4.2 Students and Curriculum
The Durham District School Board Code Of Conduct and Regulation # 5500 provides a framework for
standards and expectations for a safe learning and teaching environment. “School climate is the tone
or prevailing attitude within the school which encompasses the physical attributes of a school as well
as levels of order, satisfaction and productivity. An enhanced school climate contributes to the
reduction or the prevention of discipline and crime problems in the schools.” (DDSB Regulation #
5500, p.3, pp. 4.0)
The following factors contribute to an enhanced school climate for students:
(a) Positive Academic Environment
• focus on academic expectations, learning for all, student achievement
• ensure a creative and stimulating learning atmosphere
• communicate academic expectations clearly
• time on task
(b) Values/Skills Curriculum
• provide formal and informal instruction to promote concepts of respect, caring for
self and others, conflict resolution, concern for the environment, and principles of
law and citizenship;
• focus on ethnocultural sensitivity and the need to address gender role
• school must provide Character Education development.
• school wide initiatives
(c) Physical Environment
• promote an enhanced physical environment that fosters pride and caring about
• encourage actions to remodel school areas that are prone to problems
• safety audit
(d) Supportive Climate for Students and Staff
• should be considered and recommended
• promote programs to enhance personal wellness
• establish peer programs to provide support, encouragement, awareness, and
• provide access to counselors and teachers to assist with personal problems,
school and career issues.
(e) Codes of Conduct
• prepare codes of conduct in collaboration with students, staff and parents, and
communicate them clearly to all involved;
• enact firm, fair and consistent progressive discipline;
• encourage staff as role models for effective communication, mutual respect and
(f) Parent/School Collaboration
• foster a welcoming school environment to encourage increased participation by
parents in their child's education, school activities and school policy-making;
• involve parents in activities aimed at creating a home environment compatible
with that of the school where non-violent resolution of problems prevails.
(g) Community Partnerships
• promote community awareness and participation in the school to enhance
cohesiveness, support and effective use of resources;
• increase involvement of students in community service activities to create a
climate of caring, respect and trust.
• develop community based initiatives
(h) Student Participation
• involve students in problem-solving, school enhancement, and policy direction to
enable them to feel valued and respected and to create a sense of ownership of
and responsibility for the school community;
• provide leadership opportunities at the school or in the community.
(i) Staff Development
• create awareness of the origins and impact of violence and other anti-social
• promote creative methods of progressive discipline and school management;
• devise school-climate enhancement initiatives.
A sampling of the numerous supports and resources for students, parents, teachers, and
administrators are listed in Appendix B.
This Management Program requires that staff follow preventative measures aimed at reducing the
risk of workplace violence. Such measures may include but are not limited to:
- Completing the DDSB Workplace Violence Management Program Foundation Training
- Complying with prescribed school/workplace security measures such as visitor sign-in
- Following personal safety measures such as working alone protocols.
- Reporting workplace violence to your Principal/Supervisor
- Assisting your principal/supervisor to complete the “Employee Violent Incident Report” as
4.4 Emergency Response Plan
All parties – employers, Principals/Supervisors and Staff must be prepared to respond to violent
situations in progress. All schools/workplaces must have an Emergency Response Plan,
Administrators will review the plan with staff every September. The plan must include:
- “Universal Emergency Procedures” – including lockdown, lockout, shelter-in-place and
- Critical Incident Response Kit
- Command Center and alternate site
- Regular drills
Refer to the following to develop, support and maintain your Emergency Response Plan:
- The Durham District School Board Master Emergency Plan
- 9-1-1 Guidelines
- Emergency Response Plan Summary Sheet (Teachers)
- The Administrator 9-1-1 Checklist
- Critical Incident Response Kits PowerPoint Presentation
- Lockdown/Lockout PowerPoint Presentation
- Lockdown/Lockout Instructions
- Non-verbal Communication System, Red-Green Card Instructions
- Lockdown/Lockout DVD
4.5 Threat Assessment Team
A school cannot ignore any threat of violence. If information is obtained that suggests a students has
uttered threats to harm, the in-school Threat Assessment Team will be activated in accordance to the
“Durham District School Board Threat Assessment Procedures”.
Based on the risk assessment, the following training program has been established:
a) All employees will be required to complete Workplace Violence Foundation Training. This
course will cover the basics of workplace violence and strategies to deal with the issues.
b) All employees will be made aware of the Workplace Violence Management Program.
Supervisors will be supported with resource materials suitable for staff meetings (e.g.
‘Safety Short’, and PowerPoint on program).
c) Specialized training will be provided staff who support students with special needs. See
As part of the annual program audit and review described in section 7.0, training needs will be
continually assessed and updated.
6.0 STUDENTS IDENTIFIED WITH SPECIAL NEEDS – SYMPTOMATIC
BEHAVIOURS PRESENTING RISK OF INJURY
It is the goal of the Durham District School Board to provide a secure, healthy and safe environment
for its staff and students.
It is recognized that enhanced measures may be required while Special Education Services are being
In keeping with the universal nature of this document, current processes relevant to staff working with
students with special needs have been included. However, many of the incidents involving students
with special needs represent symptomatic not intentional behaviour and would not be considered
workplace violence as defined in section 3.1.
6.1 Identification and Prevention
A small number of students with special needs may also have medical/neurological/developmental
disabilities that can have behaviours that are symptomatic of their disability. These behaviours may
create safety concerns within the school environment for other students and the staff who support the
All of these students will have an I.E.P. A Behaviour Safety Plan must be developed in conjunction
with the I.E.P. for students whose behaviour presents a risk of injury to students and staff. The
Principal will ensure that the Behaviour Safety Plans are available to all staff for identified students
with whom they are working.
Refer to Durham District School Board Procedure #5127 – “Special Education Guidelines for Meeting
and Responding to the Safety and Behavioural Needs of Students with Special Needs and the Staff
who Support Them”.
Staff who support students with special needs require training in addition to the Durham District
School Board Workplace Violence Foundation Training. The Special Education Department in
partnership with Staff Development have and continue to offer a wide selection of courses reflective
of the needs of the staff who support students with special needs. These may include:
- Non Violent Crisis Intervention
- Autism Spectrum Disorder In-Service Level 1
- Geneva Centre Training for Autism Level 2
When a violent incident occurs, the following staff will be involved with reviewing and altering the
Behaviour Safety Plan: Special Education and regular class teachers, EA’s, school administrators
and other special education staff (example Special Education Facilitator, Psychological Services,
Social Workers, Speech and Language). While the review process is occurring appropriate
arrangements will be made for the student in order to ensure the safety of the staff and other
6.4 Personal Protective Equipment
Although personal protective equipment (PPE) is always utilized as the last resource to protect staff
who support students with special needs, in some situations Individual Behaviour Safety Plans may
mandate the use of PPE. The following PPE is available through the Stockroom:
- Impacto full arm guard – padded and non-padded
- Impacto forearm, wrist and part hand guard – non-padded
- Impacto shin guard, padded
- Impacto vests
- Dyneema gloves
- Nitrile rubber gloves
Refer to Central File Memo #07/08-026, Personal Protective Equipment and Students with Special
Staff that are required to wear PPE, will be provided with and wear the equipment. This shall be
supervised and monitored by the Principal/Supervisor.
Although a few students with special needs may exert physical force that causes or may cause
physical injury to a worker, the behaviour may be symptomatic and may not be intentional.
The Employee Violent Incident Report will be used for Special Education, so that incidents can be
tracked, analyzed and investigated. The Manager of Health and Safety shall review the incidents with
the Special Education Officer on a regular basis. The Special Education Officer shall present a
summary report on a semi-annual basis to the Joint Health and Safety Committee.
For all reporting and record keeping requirements refer to Durham District School Board Procedure
#5127 – “Special Education Guidelines for Meeting and Responding to the Safety and Behavioural
Needs of Students with Special Needs and the Staff who Support Them”.
7.0 RECORD KEEPING:
A copy of the Ministry of Education Violent Incident Form J and any applicable suspension or
expulsion letter for violent behaviour will be included in the O.S.R. The Violent Incident Form J shall
not be removed from the O.S.R. unless three (3) consecutive years pass during which no further
violent incident take place. Information relating to an expulsion will remain in the O.S.R. for five (5)
If a student transfers or is transferred to another school within the DDSB, the information in the
O.S.R. relating to the serious violent incident will remain in the O.S.R.”
8.0 PROGRAM AUDIT AND REVIEW:
The Manager of Health and Safety shall ensure that the Safety Initiatives Committee reviews
annually, in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety Committee, the Workplace Violent
APPLICABLE BOARD POLICIES, PROCEDURES, GUIDELINES AND RESOURCES
The Durham District School Board has adopted policy, procedure, guidelines and produced resources to
manage violence in the workplace. They incorporate both prevention/mitigation and reporting mechanisms.
This list should be considered an evergreen document as it is constantly evolving. The documents are
arranged by subject category:
|Note: The Safe Schools icon on Lotus Notes provides for 'One-Stop Shopping' |
for many of these documents (Administrator Access)
CODE OF CONDUCT/SAFE SCHOOLS
Policy #5500 - Durham District School Board Code of Conduct
Regulation #5500 - Durham District School Board Code of Conduct and Safe Schools Regulation
Regulation #5148 - Discipline for Durham Schools
Procedure #3041 - Police/School Protocol Between The Durham Regional Police Service And The
Durham District School Board, The Durham Catholic District School Board, The
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board And The Peterborough Victoria
Northumberland And Clarington Catholic District School Board
Procedure #3100 - Guidelines for E-Mail
Procedure #5149 - Offsite and/or After Hours Incident
Policy & Regulation - School System Procedures for Emergency Closing
Procedure #3050 - 9-1-1 Emergency Response Guideline
Procedure #3002 - Emergency Operations Procedure
DDSB Master Emergency Plan – Resources – Refer to Pg. 26, 27
Policy, Regulation and Procedure #4245 - Harassment Prevention
Procedure #4227 - Employee Assistance Program
Procedure #3001 - Checklist of Emergency, Operational and Personnel Procedures
Policy #4220 - Criminal Background Checks
Procedure #4220 - Guidelines for the Collection of Criminal Background Checks
Procedure #4251 - Video Surveillance Systems
Procedure #4255 - Guidelines for Administrators on Security and Safety in the Schools
Resource - Safe Schools Audit
Note: The Safe Schools icon on Lotus Notes provides for ‘One-Stop Shopping’ for
many of these documents (Administrator Access)
ROUTINE PRACTICES (UNIVERSAL PRECUATIONS)
DDSB Communicable Diseases/Medical Procedures
Regulation #4255 - Security & Safety
Procedure #4145 - Safety-Related Refusal to Work
Procedure #5127 - Special Education Guidelines for Meeting and Responding to the Safety and
Behavioural Needs of Students with Special Needs and the Staff who Support
SUPPORTS AND RESOURCES
Resources for Staff
Imagine Bully Free Schools resource manual
Character Education Resources for Administrators CD
Non Academic Curriculum Units available on Board Safe Schools Website
Alternate Ending Curriculum Modules available on Board Safe Schools Website
Violence Prevention and Safety - In Support of Safe Schools resource document
Available in Resource Library
Include additional resources section on Violence in the Workplace References:
Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy/Program Memorandum No. 144
(2007) Ontario Ministry of Education
Canadian Initiative on Workplace Violence http://www.workplaceviolence.ca
Health and Safety Guide for Libraries. (2003) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and
Safety in Special Education. (2003) Education Safety Association of Ontario
The Road to Health: A Final Report on School Safety. (2008) Falconer Report.
Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide. (2007) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health
Violence in the Workplace Participant’s Manual. Municipal Health and Safety Association
Violence Prevention in Education. (2004) Education Safety Association of Ontario
Workplace Violence. Education Safety Association of Ontario
Recommended Sites for Administrators, Teachers and Parents
Explanations of activities students are engaging in online as well as safety tips
Posters and Bookmarks
To order contact:
Durham District School Board