VANCOUVER – School trustees in Vancouver have resurrected a program that assigns police to public schools, with the intention to have officers on campuses by next September.
In a five-to-four vote Monday night, trustees approved the School Liaison Officer program, even though British Columbia’s human rights commissioner Kasari Govender has urged such programs be scrapped.
The motion renewing the liaison officer placements calls for a “revised and reimagined” program, but trustees Janet Fraser and Lois Pedley-Chan say they voted against it because the wording does not protect Black or Indigenous students.
A statement from the two trustees says the Vancouver police department hasn’t adequately addressed the issue of racism within its ranks, so “cannot be trusted to seriously consider and address the safety and well-being of Black and Indigenous students” in area schools.
The liaison program was cut last year after a review that was prompted by concerns uniformed officers make some students anxious or upset, including many identifying as Black, Indigenous or people of colour.
The newly elected ABC Vancouver party, whose members hold four of the nine school board seats, campaigned on a pledge to return the liaison officers because of a “marked increase” in swarmings, robberies and attacks on teens.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2022.
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