Trustees approve to end participation in School Resource Officer program

Trustees approve to end participation in School Resource Officer program
Posted on 06/25/2021
Trustees approve to end participation in School Resource Officer program

On Thursday, June 24, OCDSB trustees voted to immediately and completely end engagement with the Ottawa Police Service School Resource Officer (SRO) program.

Among items included in the motion (full text below):

  • The OCDSB will notify the Ottawa Police Service of its intention to withdraw from the SRO program and to engage police services in schools only for matters deemed necessary under provincial legislation. 
  • The OCDSB will issue a formal apology for any harm experienced by students or community members as a result of involvement in the SRO program. 
  • The OCDSB will also invite other Ottawa school boards, community partners, the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Police Service to collaborate on new ways to move forward.
  • The OCDSB will also write to the City of Ottawa, the Anti-Racism Secretariat and the Ottawa Police Service and recommend that any savings as a result of the OCDSB withdrawal from the SRO program be redirected to youth prevention and intervention programs supported by mental health professionals.

This has been a difficult conversation in our community. Through the consultation, individuals have shared traumatic experiences regarding their interactions with police. We appreciate those who have shared their experience in an effort to support positive change. These experiences have shown that the presence of police officers in schools can create anxiety and feelings of vulnerability for some students, and especially for those who experience racism, oppression and/or hate.

The changes approved by the Board are intended to submit our commitment to ensuring that schools are a safe, caring and welcoming place for all students and staff. 

This motion is an important step forward in discussions about how to support students and ensure safe and caring school communities. Over the coming months, we will be working with community partners in order to update the Police Involvement in Schools policy, expected in the fall of 2021.

We will continue to maintain that a professional and productive working relationship with Ottawa Police Services as with all of our community partners is required if we are to move forward together. It is through a respectful partnership that we will be able to properly serve our students, schools and communities. 

Full text of motion approved by OCDSB Board of Trustees, June 24, 2021

  1. THAT the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board immediately and completely end its engagement with the School Resource Officer program;
  2. THAT the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) provides notice to Ottawa Police Service that as of 1 September 2021, the OCDSB shall only meet its minimum statutory obligations under the relevant provincial protocols and acts until further evaluation is complete;
  3. THAT the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) issue a formal apology, published on the OCDSB website, social media, and in the local papers, to the communities and students who have been harmed by the School Resource Officer program;
  4. That the OCDSB invite other Ottawa school districts, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Police Services, and community partners representing equity-seeking groups and groups that experience discrimination and oppression, to work collaboratively through a process that is guided by a human rights based approach on improving services and supports for youth in crisis, in alignment with our shared commitments to The United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action;
  5. That the Chair of the Board write a letter to the City of Ottawa, including the Anti-Racism Secretariat and to Ottawa Police Services recommending that any savings accruing from a reduction in police services to OCDSB schools be redirected to support the development of alternative approaches to crisis intervention for youth in collaboration with community partners, and requesting a meeting to discuss further;
  6. THAT the Board adopt a do no harm approach as a guiding principle  when an incident or a series of incidents arise that involve harm, especially related to anti-racism, human rights, equity, and inclusion;
  7. THAT the Board of Trustees reaffirm its commitment to incorporating an intersectional and anti-racism analysis lens as new policies are adopted and existing policies are updated; and
  8. THAT the Board of Trustees commit to undertake anti-racism and decolonization training with support from Board Services.

 

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