The District is responsible to provide a safe and caring environment to all students and staff. To fulfill this important responsibility, school staff require timely information about young people involved in the youth justice system. Some students enrolled in a school may have to attend school or participate in an education program to comply with an order of a court. In order to ensure the safety of all students, principals need to know if any young person is a safety concern and therefore, require such information to provide appropriate support. School staff must balance the need to receive information with, a student’s right to confidentiality and privacy.
The sharing of information on a young person with status under the Youth Criminal Justice Act shall be on a need-to-know basis and limited to school staff assigned to provide instruction, supervision or support to the young person.
Independent student is a student who is 16 years of age or older and living independently, who is party to an agreement under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act or a student who is 16 - 17 years of age who has withdrawn from parent authority.
Justice system personnel includes probation officers, social workers, caseworkers, intervention workers or other persons employed or contracted by Alberta Justice to provide services or support to young people. Other personnel may include those carrying out any program or duty under the School Act.
Young person with young offender status refers to a young person who is 12 – 17 years of age who is charged with an offence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act or a young person with status under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
- In keeping with Section 129 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, a person who is given access to a record or to whom information is disclosed shall not disclose that information to any other person unless that disclosure is authorized under that Act.
- Justice system personnel (e.g., probation officers, police officers, peace officers, youth workers or a person under contract with Alberta Justice), are to provide information identifying a young person with young offender status to the Principal or designate, for the following reasons:
- To protect the safety of students, staff or others;
- To assist justice system personnel with the preparation of reports;
- To ensure compliance with court order; or
- To facilitate rehabilitation of the young person.
- Disclosure of information shall be limited to offences which threaten the safety of students or staff, including:
- Criminal negligence
- Extortion or intimidation
- Illegal possession of firearms, offensive weapons or explosives
- Procuring for the purposes of prostitution
- Sexual assault or molestation
- Trafficking in illegal drugs
- Hate crimes
- The Principal or designate may request information from justice system personnel to protect the safety of students, staff and others. The disclosure of information is limited by justice system personnel and includes:
- A copy of the young person’s court order or disposition
- Type of offence resulting in young offender status
- Prior offences
- Indications of violent tendencies or patterns of behaviours
- Identifiable groups of persons or person who may be at risk from the young person or convicted along with the young person
- Recommendations to reduce risk of re-offending or the young person’s case plan
- Other services and agencies involved in supporting the young person’s rehabilitation or disposition.
- Information disclosed on a young person with young offender status shall be kept confidential and contained in a file separate from any other record on the young person enrolled as a student. The Principal shall make reasonable security arrangements to protect information received on a young person with young offender status against risks such as unauthorized access, use, disclosure or disposal of information. A list of staff who subsequently received information disclosed on a young person is to be included in the confidential file. Inappropriate disclosure of student information or information on a young person could result in a fine, imprisonment and/or a guilty charge of unprofessional conduct.
- Access to the information on a young person shall be restricted to school staff designated to receive such information. The Principal shall restrict the initial disclosure of information to school administration and school counsellors. Subsequent sharing of disclosed information shall be determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the need-to-know, to other staff who have primary responsibility for the young person’s supervision or education program. Subsequent sharing of information on a need to know basis is to be to:
- Ensure safety of students, staff and others;
- Ensure safety and security of the young person;
- Provide appropriate supervision and support;
- Monitor progress of the young person; and
- Comply with a court or disposition order.
- If justice system personnel request information from the school record, parent consent to release information is required if the student is less than 16 years of age. A student can provide consent to release information if the student is 16 years of age or older.
- If neither parent nor student provide consent to release information from the student record, the Principal shall refer the matter to the Superintendent or designate. Parent permission to receive information or subsequently share information on a young person with young offender status is not required under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
- The Principal shall ensure that the contents of a student record are only disclosed in accordance with:
- Sections 23 (Student Records), 40 (Investigators), 41 (Inquiry into Administration) and 43 (Inspections) of the School Act;
- The Department of Justice or its designate, or the Department of Solicitor General and Public Security or its designate, when requested for the purpose of administering the Youth Criminal Justice Act; or
- Carrying out any program or policy under either of the above Acts, including an Attendance Officer.
- Upon the request of justice system personnel to provide information for the purpose of preparing a report for the court, the Principal shall arrange for the release of the following student information:
- Full name of student
- Attendance record
- Academic program or course enrolment
- Academic progress report
- Disciplinary reports
- Additional achievement or behaviour assessments.
- Additional services or supports provided to the student by school staff.
- Information on a young person shall be physically destroyed or electronically deleted when the information is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was disclosed, when the young person transfers to another school or school authority, or upon the expiry of the court order or disposition.
- When the young person transfers to another school or school authority, the Principal shall inform the justice system personnel. Permission to share information with the receiving Principal can only be shared with consent of justice system personnel.
- Where a young person with young offender status or the parent requests counselling services, the request is to be referred to the justice system personnel. If another professional is responsible for counselling that young person, a school counsellor shall not provide such services.
- School staff who agree to serve as an advocate, witness or participant in a court hearing on behalf of the young person, must fulfill this request as a personal choice not as a representative or employee of the District.
- In circumstances where there is a difference of opinion or conflict between the Principal and justice system personnel regarding the nature or extent of information disclosed, the Principal shall refer the matter to the Superintendent or designate.