My son has an autism diagnosis. He is eight years old, and I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of him having any type of interaction with law enforcement now, or at any point in his future schooling because I know that police officers are trained to police; they are absolutely not trained to appropriately deal with the complex behaviours of children and teens in positions of disadvantage whose comportment may be outside of the "norm." What police are explicitly trained in is the use of force, and intimidation, and surveillance—these things are what make it clear to me that police have zero place in schools, and that children with disabilities like my son are simply not safe around SROs.

The SRO in my division doesn't answer to any counsellor, EA, teacher, nurse, vice-principal, principal, student services staff or indeed any in-school staff—only to a single division liaise superintendent. I tried to ask one of my son's teachers about her opinion on SROs and she was reluctant to speak about it, saying that as teachers they had to maintain neutrality. Why are teachers afraid to speak up about this program when they seem open to discussing all other aspects of our children's education? Policing represents extreme power, which instills fear. I’m not okay with that and nobody should be. Can we really believe that if teachers are uncomfortable, students are not? Kids understand power dynamics very well. They understand what a gun is. And that includes children like my son.

Parent, Louis Riel School Division