On Wednesday, November 18th, Peel Regional Police announced a permanent end to the School Resource Officer Program in Peel District Schools. “It was evident during the consultation phase that the current SRO program caused a negative impact on segments of our student population,” said the Peel police in a press release. This is a huge victory for everyone organizing for Police-Free Schools Ontario-Wide, and we send our congratulations from Treaty 1 territory.
This decision has great importance for students, parents, and teachers all across the country. A high-profile report on the Peel District SRO program by researchers from Carleton University claimed that most students felt safe around police in schools. Regarding the removal of police from Toronto schools, the report simply claimed that Toronto has different demographics. This report was preferred by media and used by school boards across Canada to defend their SRO programs. What do those proponents say today? That their schools are different still, and that this latest consultation doesn't count?
With the Peel Report behind us, it is our belief that we will be able to have more honest conversations about the impact of School Resource Officers here in our communities. We're thankful for the work and advocacy of all those involved in this pathbreaking decision.