Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

After the school. The program, implemented in

After reading two separate perspectives on
the issue, my opinion on police officers in schools has not changed and I
thoroughly believe that officers have no place in schools for they can only
make students uncomfortable in an institution that should be a safe space for
everyone.

Robin Pilkey, the chair of the TDSB and
trustee for Ward 7, Parkdale-High Park, states that “it is unacceptable that a
program designed to build bridges could cause negative and harmful experiences
for some students” and “that it is equally unacceptable that the board… would
continue with the program knowing full well that some of their students – not
activists and hardliners, just students – felt uncomfortable, intimidated and
targeted in their own school” (Pilkey, pars. 5). I believe that the TDSB put
the opinions of the outside world on hold and listened to the group that will
be the most affected by the decision of SRO’s in schools, the youth. Robin and
the rest of her colleagues’ decision came about as “anti-police” but that it is
false. This decision is a matter of democracy and listening to students and
improving their relationship with themselves and the school.

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The program, implemented in 2008, was created
after the murder of student Jordan Manners at Toronto’s C.W. Jeffreys
Collegiate, and was created to enhance the safety and security of students and
staff in these schools (Muise, pars. 3) According to John Muise, a retired
police officer and supports the program, has stated that “there is a good body
of evidence to support the continuation of this program. First, a survey of
students, staff, and community members found majority support for this program.
Most people felt safer…” (Muise, pars. 3). But this survey that Muise has
mentioned was conducted by the TDSB and the results that came out were not the
exact results he mentioned. The survey took in the opinions of roughly 2,000
students from the 45 schools that had contact with an SRO (Pilkey, pars. 3). Many
admitted to feeling intimidated and uncomfortable with an officer among their
community and the majority which counters John’s point about students feeling
safer, what about the minority? What about the kids that get profiled for what
they are wearing or what the colour of their skin is? I believe the TDSB made
the right decision to cut this program because within our public institutions,
especially schools, our appearances are usually what gets noticed first and does
not let people see who are we underneath, which is what really matters. Letting
minorities feel insecure and uncomfortable in their own skin because their
school board has put a representative of a controversial system into their
hallways greatly challenges the TDSB “inclusivity” promise.

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