The Toronto District School Board has received a staff report which concludes that the program which stations police officers in high schools should be ended because about ten percent of students say it makes them uncomfortable. It quotes one such student as saying that anyone seen talking to the police is considered a snitch and “his life is over.” A Canadian Press story suggests those opposed to the School Resource Officer Program (SRO) will be considered to have a right to a police-free environment. SRO was begun in 2008 after 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot and killed at C. W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute the previous year. The survey performed by the TDSB showed that most students found the presence of the police a useful safety measure and frequently a pleasant social experience.
In recommending the program be ended, the staff report took the minority viewpoint as determinative. “We have an obligation to ensure that all of our students can learn in schools that are safe, discrimination-free, and that protect their human rights,” it said. There is no reported expression of how the right to safety, as opposed to peer pressure not to snitch, is rationalized. The judgement of staff decisions at the TDSB may leave some parents wondering. Recently, the board banned the word “chief” from its nomenclature because it was said to be offensive to the Indigenous.
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