It is absolutely essential that schools ensure all students feel valued, safe and able to focus on their education. For many, having a police officer in their space makes that impossible.
“Police services across Ontario engage with young persons in the public education system, often to detain, control or apprehend students for what is perceived as disruptive behaviour. Research shows police engagement and school-based arrests disproportionately affect racialized students and students with disabilities” (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2021)
The ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ pushes students out of school and into direct contact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
DID YOU KNOW?
Youth are the most intensively policed age group, with Black youth and Indigenous youth policed most of all (Toronto Neighbourhood Centres, 2021, pg. 13).
62 of the last 100 people who died at the hands of police officers in Canada were between the ages of 15 and 35.
Black and Indigenous people were overrepresented in these deaths (Flannagan, 2020).
Systemic racism exists. It exists in Canada. It exists in Simcoe County, and it most certainly exists in policing. Youth in our local, provincial, and national community bear this burden.
If the research shows how harmful police presence is in schools, why are police there at all?