I have family & friends who were/ still are police officers. I will not attack the police force or police officers. They are needed. When people go on a killing spree, we call the police to catch them and remove the danger from the community. We want them to collect evidence at the scene of a drunk driving accident when someone is killed.
Shouldn’t a life goal include never having to interact with police? The only police interaction I’ve ever had in my life was with relatives and friends. There weren’t police in schools when I was a student. I've never had a negative interaction with police. I also know education, not more police, changed attitudes around drunk driving and seat belt laws. If elected, I will vote to eliminate the SRO program and divert the funds to community programming.
There is a distinct difference between inter-personal racism and structural racism. I‘ve seen the successes of the SRO Program. While SRO program successes are highlighted, the failures are often ignored. The exception is sustaining the rule so to speak. The recent incident at Sturgeon Heights when a father and son attacked another student demonstrates this. The SRO Program didn’t prevent it. Police were called. They would have been called with or without the SRO Program.
Police response is reactive, not proactive. Property crime has not been stopped. It is only documented. If your house is burglarized, police don’t prevent it. They come after the fact. They take notes. It’s likely your stolen stuff is not coming back. Your sense of safety in your own home has changed.
Some of the changes called for in policing are not the responsibility of the school system. Anti-racism training is. Police accountability is not. That's the responsibility of the police board, independent incident review agencies and the city.
The SRO program is pricey. What can we get for the same price? Is our money supporting the right goals?
For the money being spent on the SRO Program, are we able to invest in a seniors’ leisure guide, utilizing school infrastructure? Are we able to invest in a transit system that recognizes the diverse needs of transit users? Students (and their families) use transit. Is access to technology being neglected due to insufficient funds? Are outdoor basketball courts in disrepair due to lack of funds? I absolutely know our mental health services are being short changed due to a lack of funding.
What of utilizing schools with after-school programs to provide safe spaces for youth to grow from 3:30-8:00 p.m.? Children could also be given hot meals.
I do like police dramas. I’ve realized that while they catch the bad guy in the end and interrupt crimes being committed, real life isn’t as tidy as a script. I’ve come to realize I like police dramas because of the relationships unfolding on screen. Blue Bloods sustains me because of the family dinners they have. Those types of family dinners almost never happen in real life. I’ve never experienced one.
Why are we having students interact with uniformed people carrying tasers and guns? Are there alternatives? We invest in what we value. We police want we don’t value. The justice system is expensive. Why can’t we have students idolizing scientists, librarians, authors and community volunteers? We should be using public funds to celebrate people.
The arc of justice should mean investing in children. Emotionally investing in students (children) means nurturing them, not punishing them. Think of a child you know. Does a favourite aunt or uncle, grandma or grandpa create the same type of nurturing relationship with children that police do?
The role of society is to look after those with the greatest needs. Teaching compliance is not learning to live a different way. It’s not about community satisfaction with an SRO program. Affluent families have less interaction with police. What do the families who have been most marginalized by society think? Are there more children harmed by the SRO Program than helped?
Has the SRO Program increased safety in and around schools, increased perceptions of safety, improved police call response times, reduced truancy, reduced in school related incidents and/or crime? Has the SRO Program reduced bullying, violence, gang and drug activities?