Police presence in UGDSB schools
In October 2020, the Upper Grand District School Board sought input regarding the presence of police in UGDSB schools.
The UGDSB asked students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to provide their input on the role of police in UGDSB schools and the impact of police in schools on the school community.
On Tuesday Oct. 20, the board held a virtual town hall where participants were invited to provide their input to questions in a format that is fair and inclusive, facilitated by Thought Exchange. An additional question requesting one or two points for consideration for recommendations on police presence in UGDSB schools was also asked.
The board also launched a survey for those who were unable to join the town hall, asking survey participants the same questions posed to town hall participants.
The board’s goal was to hear all voices and gather input to the question of police in UGDSB schools. Through the virtual town hall and survey, the board wanted to ensure all people had the opportunity to share their voice through a format that is free of bias and oppression.
In May 2020, following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent protests worldwide protesting racism and racial injustice, trustees and board staff received questions about the role of policing in the UGDSB from community leaders and individuals across the board. In June 2020, the Board established a task force to review police presence in UGDSB schools.
The scope of the Police Presence in Schools Task Force Review includes both the elementary and secondary panels (JK to grade 12) in the UGDSB. The following factors are being considered as part of the task force:
- Review and respond to the role of police presence in schools and their impact on all students, families and staff.
- Gain an understanding of the impact of police presence in schools on racialized students, families and staff.
- Gain an understanding of students, families and staff experience with police presence in schools based on socio-economic status.
- Gain an understanding of 2SLGBTQIA+ students, families and staff experience with police presence in schools.
- Gain an understanding of students, families and staff experiencing mental health interventions by police presence in schools.
- Listen to the voices of local organizations and agencies, students, families and staff related to police presence in schools.
- Consider all geographic areas of the UGDSB.
Membership on the task force is comprised of three staff members, two trustees, one student trustee and community members representing community organizations and agencies. The work of the committee is facilitated by co-chairs Superintendent of Education Cheryl Van Ooteghem and consultant Marva Wisdom.
Task Force Members
- Mike Foley
- Robin Ross
- Taran Fournier (Student Trustee)
- Iman Aziz – Muslim POC (youth)
- Joy Sammy – Guelph Black Heritage Society
- Kelly Ward – North Wellington Community
- MacKenzie Main – First Nation Metis Inuit (youth)
- Melissa Williamson – Orangeville Community
- Monica Peirson Durbin – Social Service/Community Worker
- Nkese Charles – Shelburne Community
- Susan Buchanan – First Nation Metis Inuit
- Carla Anderson – Principal
- Geer Harvey – Social Worker
The task force is to produce a report and provide options and recommendations to the UGDSB by Dec. 31, 2020.