The Peel Regional Police recently issued a statement pulling the plug on the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. The “pause” is effective immediately. Peel Police plan on consulting the community about their opinions on the program and expect to publish a report in Winter 2020.
The SRO program was established over 20 years ago and puts uniformed officers in schools with the goal of creating a safe learning environment. The role of SROs is to foster relationships with students, administrators and staff while addressing complaints that occur on school grounds. $9 million is invested annually into the regional program with 72 full-time officers across Peel schools.
PDSB Interim Director of Education Jaspal Gill says that “we have heard from members of our school communities, in particular those who identify as Black and Indigenous, that they do not feel safe when SROs and other police officers are present in Peel schools.”
Adrian Woolley, the President of the Peel Regional Police Association has been critical of Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown tweeting out not to “expect any politicians in Peel to push back on “pausing” the SRO program.”
Chief Nishan Duraiappah says that Peel Regional Police recognizes that the consultation process will take a considerable amount of time and resources. They plan to consult stakeholders including Black Community Action Network (BCAN), MOYO Community Health Services, school board staff, students, and families.