Brown: What role should police play in Toronto high schools?

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Are there police stations in high schools in Toronto?

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The issue has recently been in the news again after the York Memorial University Institute made the news about reports of disruption at school.

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In the wake of a recent spate of school violence, former police officer Scott Mills has asked Mayor John Torrey to consider reviving the School Resource Officer (SRO) program.

The program ended in 2017, with some groups calling it a “good elimination” and others blaming the loss of what was seen as a successful initiative.

Will the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) consider returning to the SRO program?

A TDSB spokesperson said in a statement last week:

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“But schools are part of the community, so it’s important to develop relationships with law enforcement to address urgent safety concerns.”

But what should that relationship look like?

TDSB’s focus on community over schools is what Scott Mills said about the SRO program. So in the beginning it was all about community and school wasn’t that important.

A handful of police officers on bicycles joined the community, got to know the children well, and worked on interventions and prevention. did.”

By the time the SRO initiative expanded to 45 out of 113 schools, the obligation was changed. It was now an officer assigned to a particular school. It wasn’t that effective.

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The program began after Jordan Manners, 15, was shot dead in 2007. CW Jefferies Collegiate Institute — This is the first time a student has been murdered in a Toronto school.

Manners’ mother, Laurene Small, was supportive of the SRO program.

By 2017, however, the program was terminated by the TDSB Trustees amid calls for police reform and accusations of systemic racism.

What do the police think the deal with schools should be?

Toronto Police Association President John Reid began his recent statement by citing positive results from the SRO program.

The officers are “embedded in the school community and play a leading role in running programs such as anti-bullying, music, sports and community outreach initiatives, restorative justice circles, tutoring and breakfast clubs. did.

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“It cannot be the only solution to this problem,” he added. “School boards must consider — what drives young people to bring weapons to school in the first place?

“What kind of environment do young people feel they can even bring weapons into school?

“What does it mean that actions that warrant a police response are allowed to escalate?”

As far as Mills is concerned, something needs to come together between the school and the police just to restore vital communication networks. can be dealt with before

“It helps me know where I am and when I should be there.”

He added that some recent violent incidents at schools in Toronto were, in some ways, predictable.

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There would have been signs beforehand that something was up. Someone in the community, or something on social media, would have alerted police or school officials.

Intervention at the community level is much more likely if School Resource Officers are in place. Without them, there would be gaps in the information chain.

Mr Mills said: Put more police in the neighborhood and let the schools do it. “

What did the SRO do about the York Memorial where teachers say all problems are caused by a handful of students?

“We would have been trying to get those kids involved in other activities, even if it was just playing basketball,” Mills said.

“People will say, ‘Do you play basketball?! Well, yes — meaning cops aren’t chasing kids down the street with guns. I would call it a win. ”

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Brown: What role should police play in Toronto high schools?

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