Removal of police from Peel schools gathers steam

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First it was TDSB that was pressured into eliminating police presence in its schools despite majority of parents and educators stating that it made a positive difference, now advocates have their eyes on Peel Region schools. The reason is the same—black students feel targeted and intimidated by their presence.

Sixty officers, supervised by eight sergeants and four staff sergeants, are posted in Peel schools, a program that costs about $9 million per year, according to a report published in January by two Carleton University researchers.

It found that “school resource officers” program like the one in Peel, prevent property damage, violence and drug use. The two-year report said the program reduces crime in surrounding communities, with staff and students feeling safer.

But a 2016 Peel Region District School Board report said that black students feel marginalized and isolated in schools in part because of the presence of police officers on school grounds.
Peel Region’s police website said the primary responsibility of the program is to strive to create a safe learning environment at secondary schools.

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In November, the Toronto District School Board voted to terminate the program, after community complaints that the presence of armed officers had adversely affected some of the city’s most vulnerable youth.

The TDSB decision added further momentum to the community in Peel, said Vasquez Jimenez.

Meanwhile activist and NDP party candidate for Brampton Centre for Brampton Centre, is pushing for more hiring among blacks and South Asians. – CINEWS

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