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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 16 : Education

Chapter 033 : Fire and Emergency Preparedness Drills and Safety Patrols

(Cite as: 16 V.S.A. § 1485)
  • § 1485. Behavioral threat assessment teams [Effective July 1, 2025]

    (a) Legislative intent.

    (1) It is the intent of the General Assembly that behavioral threat assessment teams be used for the purpose of preventing instances of severe and significant targeted violence against schools and school communities, such as threats related to weapons and mass casualties and bomb threats. The goal of these teams is to assess and appropriately respond to potential reported threats to school communities.

    (2) It is the intent of the General Assembly that use of behavioral threat assessment teams shall not contribute to increased school exclusion or unnecessary referrals of students to the criminal justice and school discipline systems and shall not disproportionately impact students from historically marginalized backgrounds, including students with disabilities.

    (b) Policy.

    (1) As used in this section, “behavioral threat assessment” means a fact-based, systematic process designed to identify, gather information about, assess, and manage dangerous or violent situations.

    (2) The Secretary of Education, in consultation with stakeholder groups, including the Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families, Vermont School Boards Association, and Vermont Legal Aid Disability Law Project, shall develop, and from time to time update, a model behavioral threat assessment team policy and procedures. In developing the model policy and procedures, the Secretary shall follow guidance issued by the Vermont School Safety Center on best practices in the use of behavioral threat assessment teams. The model policy and procedure shall require law enforcement contact in the case of imminent danger to individuals or the school community and shall address the following:

    (A) the criteria that shall be used to assess a student’s threatening behavior;

    (B) the process for reporting threatening behavior;

    (C) the civil rights and due process protections to which students are entitled in school settings;

    (D) when and how to refer to or involve law enforcement in the limited instances when such referral is appropriate, which shall not include student behavior that is a violation of the school conduct code but that is not also a crime; and

    (E) the support resources that shall be made available, including mental health first aid, counseling, and safety plans.

    (3) Each school district and each approved or recognized independent school shall develop, adopt, and ensure implementation of a policy and procedures for use of behavioral threat assessment teams that is consistent with and at least as comprehensive as the model policy and procedures developed by the Secretary. Any school board or independent school that fails to adopt such a policy or procedures shall be presumed to have adopted the most current model policy and procedures published by the Secretary.

    (4) The Vermont School Safety Center shall issue guidance on the best practices of behavioral threat assessment teams. The guidance shall include best practices on bias and how to reduce incidents of bias, developed in consultation with the Office of Racial Equity.

    (c) Discipline and student support.

    (1) Consistent with the legislative intent in subsection (a) of this section, if a behavioral threat assessment team recommends, in addition to providing support resources, any action that could result in removal of a student from the student’s school environment pending or after a behavioral threat assessment, the recommendation shall only be carried out in a manner consistent with existing law, regulation, and associated procedures on student discipline pursuant to section 1162 of this title and Agency of Education, Pupils (CVR 22-000-009), as well as federal and State law regarding students with disabilities or students who require additional support.

    (2) Behavioral threat assessments shall be structured and used in a way that is intended to minimize interaction with the criminal justice system. Law enforcement referral and involvement may be appropriate only in cases involving threats, which shall not include student behavior that is a violation of the school conduct code but that is not also a crime.

    (d) Training.

    (1) Each supervisory union, supervisory district, and approved or recognized independent school shall ensure behavioral threat assessment team members receive training at least annually in best practices of conducting behavioral threat assessments, as well as bias training. The annual training shall include the following topics:

    (A) the rules governing exclusionary discipline, Agency of Education, Pupils (CVR 22-000-009);

    (B) the purpose, use, and proper implementation of the manifestation determination review process;

    (C) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; and other civil rights laws;

    (D) the negative consequences of exclusion from school;

    (E) the impact of trauma on brain development; and

    (F) group bias training, specifically focused on bias in carrying out the duties of the behavioral threat assessment team.

    (2) The Agency of Education, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety, shall develop guidance and resources to assist supervisory unions, supervisory districts, and independent schools in providing the annual training required under this subsection. In developing the guidance on bias training for behavioral threat assessment teams, the Agency and Department shall consult with the Vermont Office of Racial Equity.

    (e) Data reporting and collection. Annually, each supervisory union, supervisory district, and approved or recognized independent school shall report data related to completion of and outcomes of all behavioral threat assessments and manifestation determination reviews to the Agency in a format approved by the Secretary. At a minimum, the annual report shall include:

    (1) the names of the members of the behavioral assessment team;

    (2) the number of behavioral threat assessments and manifestation determination reviews conducted in the preceding year and for each assessment or review conducted:

    (A) a description of the behavior requiring an assessment;

    (B) the age, grade, race, gender, disability status, and eligibility for free or reduced-price school meals of the student requiring the assessment; and

    (C) the results of each assessment or review;

    (3) the number of students subjected to more than one behavioral threat assessment or manifestation determination review;

    (4) the amount of time a student is out of school pending completion of a behavioral threat assessment;

    (5) information regarding whether a student subject to a behavioral threat assessment was also subject to exclusionary discipline for the same behavior, including the length of such discipline;

    (6) information regarding whether law enforcement was involved in a behavioral threat assessment;

    (7) information regarding whether the threatening behavior was also reported to law enforcement; and

    (8) any additional data the Secretary of Education determines may be necessary. (Added 2023, No. 29, § 4, eff. July 1, 2025.)