Human Rights Commissioner calls for an end to police officer program in B.C. schools
November 28, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Nov. 28, 2022, Vancouver, B.C. – B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner is calling for the end of school liaison officer programs that put police in schools just as Vancouver’s school board prepares to vote on a motion to bring them back.
In a letter to the B.C. School Trustees Association, commissioner Kasari Govender recommends that the programs be ended by all school districts unless they can demonstrate an evidence-based need for them that can’t be met some other way.
The letter dated Friday comes as the Vancouver School Board is set to vote today on a motion that would reinstate a “revised and reimagined” version of the program in public schools after it was ended last year.
Govender says Indigenous, Black and other marginalized students, as well as their parents and communities, have raised significant concerns about the harm caused by having police in schools.
She says a study last year concluded that there’s little research on Canadian programs but those in the U.S. have been found to make marginalized students feel less safe, contributing to a sense of criminalization, and that officers discipline Black students and students with disabilities at disproportionately high rates.
The ABC Vancouver party, which holds a majority both on the school board and on Vancouver city council, campaigned on a promise to bring back the program.
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