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Annex F: Workplace and Campus Violence Response Guide Date

 A. INTRODUCTION

Reynolds is committed to providing a safe work and educational environment for the employees, students, and visitors. The following guidance and procedures applies to all Reynolds College Community to be vigilant to assist in identifying potentially violent persons and recommends actions that should be taken if a person is threatening or becomes violent.

B. PURPOSE

The purpose of this guide is to provide information for the prevention of workplace and general campus violence. Upon identifying potential threats, the college has a Behavior Intervention Team and the Department of Human Resources to provide and introduce the necessary resources to assure a safe, secure learning and work environment that is free from threats, intimidation, and violence.

DEFINITIONS

Workplace: Any location, either permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes, but is not limited to, the buildings and the surrounding perimeters, including the parking lots, field locations, alternate work locations (other than an individual’s home when telecommuting), and travel to and from work assignments.

Workplace Violence: Any physical assault or threatening behavior occurring in the workplace by employees, students, or third parties. It includes, but is not limited to, beating, stabbing, suicide, shooting, rape, attempted suicide, psychological trauma such as threats, obscene phone calls, intentionally damaging property, an intimidating presence which makes a reasonable person apprehensive of imminent harm, and harassment of any nature such as stalking, shouting so as to cause a disruption, swearing or committing injurious acts motivated by, or related to, domestic violence or sexual harassment.

Third Parties: Individuals who are not state employees, such as relatives, acquaintances, strangers, contractors, or visitors.

PROHIBITED ACTS

The Reynolds prohibits threats and acts of violence on college property, within college facilities, at any college-sponsored event; while engaged in college business, educational, or athletic activities; and while traveling in state vehicles. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Injuring another person physically;
  • Engaging in behavior that creates a reasonable fear of injury to self or another person;
  • Engaging in behavior that would subject a reasonable person to, and does subject another individual to, extreme emotional distress;
  • Possessing a weapon as defined in Reynolds Policy 4-4 - Weapons;
  • Intentionally damaging property;
  • Threatening to injure an individual (including oneself) or to damage property;
  • Committing injurious acts motivated by, or related to, domestic violence or sexual harassment; and
  • Retaliating against any employee or student who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy.

C. PREVENTION

While workplace violence cannot be prevented entirely, there are steps that can be taken in the workplace to minimize the likelihood of violence from occurring in a particular setting. Such steps include:

  • Ensuring all employees are educated on workplace violence prevention and procedures.
  • Encouraging the reporting of suspicious or threatening behaviors with protection against retaliation to the Department of Police.
  • Developing emergency procedures within each work area (including quick notification channels, exit awareness, and use of code words).
  • Arranging work shifts that preclude individuals from working alone.
  • Reducing the visibility of office items that could be used as weapons.
  • Creating visitor sign-in/screening procedures within units.
  • Encouraging use of the Department of Police escort services between buildings after dark.
  • Standardizing periodic security checks in various work settings.

D. AWARENESS

Persons who commit acts of violence tend to demonstrate or follow a pattern of behavior. If you observe the following behavior(s) and feel or observe others becoming intimidated, uncomfortable, or apprehensive, notify your supervisor or appropriate faculty member and relay your concern. The following behaviors are not definitive indicators of violent individuals but rather characteristics that have been demonstrated by persons known to commit violent acts.

  • Difficulty accepting authority or criticism
  • Holding grudges
  • Sabotage of college property or equipment
  • Expressing a desire, in jest or sincerity, to harm others
  • Physical or verbal intimidation
  • Argumentative or uncooperative behavior
  • History of interpersonal conflict
  • Extremist opinions and attitudes
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Preoccupation with violent behavior or weapons
  • Substance abuse
  • Unstable/problematic domestic situation
  • Obsessive behavior, particularly towards one or more individual

Supervisors and faculty must remain alert to significant changes in an employee and student work performance, behavior, or disposition. Contact the Department of Police (804) 523-5219 if you feel that a person is capable of violence.

The college has a Behavioral Intervention program, a multidisciplinary group of administrators, faculty, and staff that are responsible for evaluating and responding to reports regarding students whose behaviors may pose a threat to the safety of the campus community. The Behavior Intervention Team reviews reports related to behavioral incidents on campus, investigates the nature of the incidents, and makes recommendations on how the behavior can be addressed in the future at the College. The Team members consist of representatives from the following areas: student affairs, campus police, human resources, a licensed mental health therapist, teaching faculty, and representative(s) from Academic Affairs (http://www.reynolds.edu/campus_life/police/suspicious_activity.aspx).

If you have concerns about a person or situation, you are strongly encouraged to share the information, even if you think if may be nothing (if you see something, say something). To report a student of concern, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 523-5296 or complete the Behavioral Intervention Referral Form (Reynolds form 75-0005). The information you provide, no matter how trivial it may seem, may be critical to understanding a broader range of problematic or threatening behavior. There are several signs that indicate when a behavior may be of concern. Below are descriptions of behaviors that should be forwarded to the Behavioral Intervention Team.

 

Table 6 Symptoms of Emotional Distress Symptoms of Emotional Distress

Symptoms of Emotional Distress

Low Risk

• Depressed, irritable, or apathetic mood

• Rapid mood swings accompanied by excessive talkativeness, activity level, or excitability

• Extremely poor academic performance or a change from high to low grades

• Missed tests or an inability to remain awake in class

• Excessive absences, especially if prior class attendance was good

• Unusual or noticeably changed interaction patterns in the classroom (such as withdrawal from family & friends)

• Noticeable change in appearance and hygiene

• Verbal expressions of hopelessness or thoughts of death & dying

• Excessive worrying

• Significant change in life circumstances (such as job loss, death of a loved one, divorce)

• Suspected alcohol or drug abuse 

Moderate Risk

• History of aggression, violence, bullying, or stalking behaviors

• Destruction of personal and/or school property

• Defiance of and/or contempt for authority, rules, limits

• Excessively argumentative or numerous conflicts in interpersonal interactions

• Verbal aggression (use of derogatory or profane language)

• Hostile tone of voice and threatening or intimidating behaviors or body language

• Comments about weapons or stories of harming others

• Intense and inappropriate reactions, such as prolonged irritability or angry outbursts

• Excessive distrust or paranoia of others

• Perceived harassment, bullying, or ostracizing by others

• Attempts to isolate self from others

• Identifying or idolizing individuals who have engaged in acts of violence against others

• Preoccupation with weapons, violent events or activities, or hate groups

• Communications (either verbal, written, or via email) containing aggressive and possibly violent content

• Suspected alcohol or drug abuse

High Risk

Verbal or written threats to harm self or others

• Recent attempts to obtain weapons

• Self-injurious behaviors (such as self-cutting, self-burning)

• Preparing for death (such as giving away possessions, saying goodbye, writing a will)

• History of previous suicide attempts

• Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing/feeling things not apparent to others, thoughts or behavior inconsistent with reality)

• Disturbed speech or communication content (incoherent speech, grandiose beliefs, disorganized or rambling or paranoid thoughts)

 

E. AGGRESSIVE OR VIOLENT BEHAVIOR

If you are confronted by or observe an aggressive or potentially violent person, attempt to remove yourself from the situation if you are able to do so without provoking the aggressor. Report the situation to your supervisor or faculty. If you are the victim of an act of violence or observe a person committing an act of violence, immediately report the situation to the Department of Police (804) 523-5911. Do not attempt to confront a person who is violent or aggressive.

The following actions should be taken when confronted by an angry or emotionally disturbed person and you are unable to safely remove yourself from the situation:

  • Remain calm and make eye contact.
  • Stop what you are doing and give the person your full attention.
  • Ask others to remove themselves from the area if possible.
  • Speak in a calm voice and create a relaxed sympathetic environment.
  • Attempt to build trust, be open and honest.
  • Let the person speak and listen attentively.
  • Ask for specific examples of what the person is saying.
  • Continue to ask questions that will provide the person with an opportunity to share their grievances.
  • Avoid challenging body language such as placing your hands on your hips, moving toward the person, or staring directly at them. If seated, remain in your chair and do not turn your back on the individual.
  • Do not physically touch an outraged person, or try to force them to leave.
  • Move away from any object that could be used as a weapon.
  • Calmly ask the person to place any weapons in a neutral location while you continue to talk to them.
  • Never attempt to disarm or accept a weapon from a violent person.

F. ACTIVE SHOOTER

GET OUT. HIDE. FIGHT.

These types of dangerous situations have occurred on school grounds around the nation and so it is important to be educated on how to protect yourself and others in this type of situation. Employees and students can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. This course of action to GET OUT (if one chooses to escape). HIDE (If one chooses to conceal themselves). FIGHT (if one chooses to defend themselves from being harmed by the active shooter) provides options to individuals, including managers and employees, so that they can prepare to respond quickly and appropriately.

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. All employees can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. THE COLLEGE COMMUNITY IS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH ALL EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION AND MESSAGES WITHOUT HESITATION.

GET OUT If you observe a person on campus, adjacent to campus, or enters a college building brandishing a firearm or other weapon:

  1. Exit the building immediately, if possible.
  2. Notify others to exit the building and find a safe location and or shelter outdoors
  3. Call 5911 or 804-523-5911 and relay the following information:
    • Your name and location
    • Location of the incident and number of shooters
    • Identity and description of the shooter(s)
    • Type of firearm(s) used
    • Number and location of victims and their injuries

HIDE If you are unable to exit the building or if you cannot lock the door:

  1. Try to remain calm.
  2. Proceed to the nearest room, close, lock the door, and turn off all interior lights, if possible.
  3. Block or blackout all door windows and any other windows.
  4. Turn off all devices that emit noises and sounds, place mobile phones on silence.
  5. Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets. etc.
  6. Notify The Department of Police (804) 523-5911 and relay the following information:

* “This is _____________, (state your name) I am located at __________, (give your location) we have an active shooter, gunshots fired.”

* If you were able to see the shooter, give the numbers of active shooters, a description of the persons(s) sex, race, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last seen, direction of travel, and identity – if known.

* If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims.

* If you observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location seen and a description.

* If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.

7. Wait patiently until a uniformed police officer enters the room and clear any hostile threats.
8. Unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety; do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issue by a police officer. This can be accomplish if you have a direct line of communication with the dispatcher, who is able to confirm whether an officer is actually standing outside the door.
9. Attempts to rescue people outside the room should only be attempted if it can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside the room.
10. Depending on circumstances, consideration may also be given to exiting through the ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible.
11. Do not activate the fire alarm – doing so in these situations causes confusion as to the type of emergency, may place other occupants in danger and hinders police response.

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm.
  2. Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter.
  3. If there is no possibility of escape or hiding, only as a last resort when it is imminent that your life is in danger should you make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s).
  4. If the decision is to overpower the assailant(s), a multiple person attack has a better chance of success than a single person attack.
  5. Once the decision have been made, throw everything on hand at the assailant(s) – books, pens, chairs etc. while engaged in the attack.
  6. Call 804-523-5911 or 911, if possible, and provide the information listed in the previous guideline.
  7. If the active shooter(s) leaves the area, barricade the room, or proceed to a safer location.

If you encounter an active shooter, you should:

  1. Try to remain calm.
  2. When an imminent threat to your life is presented, you should make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate or overpower the assailant(s).
  3. If you choose to negotiate, do not make direct eye contact with the assailant.
  4. Speak calmly.
  5.  If you choose to FIGHT the shooter:

What to expect from responding police officers

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. Do exactly as the officers instruct. Do not deviate from their instructions to prevent being targeted as an aggressor.

The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured. Never point at an officer during an active shooter incident.

The objectives of responding police officers are:

  1. Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop life threatening behavior.
  2. Identify threats such as improvised explosive devices.
  3. Identify victims to facilitate medical response and care.

G. VICTIMS OF ON CAMPUS VIOLENCE

Post-incident response and evaluation are essential to an effective workplace violence prevention program. Reynolds provides comprehensive treatment for employees who are victimized personally or may be traumatized by witnessing a workplace violence incident. Victims of workplace violence may suffer a variety of consequences in addition to their actual physical injuries. These may include:

  • Short- and long-term psychological trauma;
  • Fear of returning to work;
  • Changes in relationships with coworkers and family;
  • Feelings of incompetence, guilt, powerlessness; and
  • Fear of criticism by supervisors or managers.
  • If you are a victim of workplace violence, seek prompt medical treatment and consider counseling whenever an assault takes place, regardless of its severity. Reynolds provides internal and external services that can help you recover from, understand, or manage your experience. The Department of Police: (804)523-5219 can provide additional information or services upon request.

 

H. SUPERVISORS AND FACULTY ~VCCS 3.14.6.1.E

 

Supervisors and academic faculty are directed to contact the Department of Police (804) 523- 5219 when aggressive or violent behavior is observed or if immediate assistance is required to prevent or interrupt aggressive behavior. If a criminal act (i.e., physical assault, sexual assault, or property damage) occurs supervisors must also contact the Department of Police as soon as possible. The following steps must be taken upon notification of a workplace violence incident:

  • Contact the Department of Police if an employee or student’s behavior is violent, criminal or results in injury or property damage.
  • If the incident is not violent and did not result in injuries, take steps to isolate the employee or student from other persons involved in the incident until further information is gathered or actions are taken.
  • Record the incident; date, time, location, name(s) of employees, and provide a brief narrative of event.
  • Contact Human Resources (804) 523-5249 and request assistance.
  • Inform the victim(s) of the support services available to them.
  • If necessary, review and revise your office security procedures.

I. CONSEQUENCES OF POLICY VIOLATIONS

  1. Employees violating this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination and criminal prosecution using existing policies and procedures including Section 3 of the VCCS Policy Manual or DHRM Policy 1.60, Standards of Conduct. Additionally, employees who are identified as using threatening language or behavior may be required, as a condition of continued employment, to participate in a mental health evaluation as part of a threat assessment process, and receive approval from the mental health evaluator that they are not a risk to themselves or others.

  2. Students violating this policy will be subject to disciplinary action as outlined in their respective college’s Student Handbook, and other college policies as appropriate. Additionally, students who are identified as using threatening language or behavior may be required, as a condition of continued enrollment, to participate in a mental health evaluation as part of a threat assessment process, and receive approval from the mental health evaluator that they are not a risk to themselves or others prior to returning to the college.

  3. Visitors and third parties violating this policy will be subject to applicable, state, and federal laws, and associated regulations, and may be barred from the college at the college’s discretion for violating this policy.

J. VIOLENCE PREVENTION COMMITTEES AND THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAMS

  1. Each college shall establish a committee with responsibility for education and violence prevention on campus. The membership of this body shall include representatives from the following areas: student affairs, human resources, law enforcement, a mental health professional or counseling services representative, and others who have knowledge, professional expertise, or responsibilities that could assist the committee with completing its work. However, in all cases the membership of the committee must comply with the requirements of Virginia Code § 23-9.2:10. the committee should consult VCCS legal counsel when necessary, through established protocols.

  2. Each violence prevention committee shall publish for its college community, a clear statement of its mission and membership, as well as the committee's leadership role in the area of violence prevention.

  3. Each violence prevention committee shall publish periodic guidance to faculty, staff, and students regarding the following:

a. How to recognize and report aberrant or potentially harmful behavior that may represent a threat to the community;

b. Policies and procedures for the assessment of individuals whose behavior may present a threat;

c. Appropriate means of intervention with such individuals;

d. College/system action to resolve potential threats; and

e. To whom on the college’s threat assessment team, or through what method, potentially threatening behavior should be reported.

4. Each college shall also organize a threat assessment team to be established by the State Board for Community Colleges. Membership of this body shall include representatives from the following areas: student affairs, human resources, law enforcement, and a mental health representative. The violence prevention committee may also be designated the campus threat assessment team if the counseling services representative is also a mental health professional. The threat assessment team may supplement its membership with others as necessary to assist it with fulfilling its purpose. However, in all cases the membership of the team must comply with the requirements of Virginia Code § 23-9.2:10. The threat assessment team shall implement the assessment, intervention, and action policies of the violence prevention committee. The committee should consult VCCS legal counsel when necessary, through established protocols.