Critical Incidents and Investigations

Critical Incidents

If a student is injured at school or at a school event outside the school, incident report forms must be completed by school personnel. In order to do so, data can be collected from the student and parents about the incident.

Parents should be clearly informed that this information will be used for several purposes:

  • for school purposes – dealing with the incident such as consequential disciplinary actions;
  • with insurers – to allow a claim by the student against student insurance for injuries suffered by the student in the incident; and/or
  • to report the incident to the board of education’s (board) insurers.

If parents do not consent to provide information then school personnel should complete the incident report forms as fully as possible. Employees should document only facts and observations, and should avoid providing a subjective opinion. Professional opinions on educational issues can be documented when based upon or supported by facts and observations. Factual observations and information about the incident included in the report are not considered personal information and can be collected without consent.

If a student is injured and even if the name of a student is publicly known, staff members are not in a position to release the name or any personal information related to the student or the student’s family. The disclosure of such information is not authorized by section 28(2) of LAFOIP.

The board can, however, use personal information of the student to defend insurance claims brought by the student. Section 28(2)(e) of LAFOIP allows personal information to be disclosed for the purpose of enforcing any legal right the school division has against any individual – the board has the right to defend itself against claims.

Investigations by School Employees

If a teacher or principal has reason to believe that a student has breached a school rule, the teacher or principal can investigate the matter. This includes the ability to use personal information of the student already on file and to gather additional information if required for purposes of the investigation. Use of the new information is restricted to the person who is responsible for the investigations and to those persons responsible for dealing with the consequences of the investigation.

The same principles that apply to searches in general apply to information contained on devices such as computers, laptops and cell phones.