Police presence in UGDSB schools
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 included both the elementary and secondary panels (JK to grade 12) in the UGDSB. The following factors were 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 was comprised of three staff members, two trustees, one student trustee and community members representing community organizations and agencies. The work of the committee was 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
Task Force Final Report
The task force met frequently between July 2020 and February 2021 to gather student, staff and community feedback, consult with police, review presentations, summarize research, and analyze data and available historical background information on police presence in schools in both the elementary and secondary panels. The task force analyzed the research and data using an equity and human rights-based approach. The task force then reached unanimous agreement on 7 recommendations offered to the UGDSB Board of Trustees.
At the April 2021 Board Meeting, trustees approved the 7 recommendations, listed below:
- The UGDSB and police services continue to deliver all foot safety patrol training (including street, driveway, and parking lot patrols) and bus patrol training.
- As per the Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) Community Protocol, the presence of police at all UGDSB schools continue when a Violent Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) is activated.
- All police presentations be vetted using the Presentations in Schools Guidelines (updated in 2019) developed by the Student Support and Program Services department of the UGDSB.
- All students and parents be notified in advance of all police presentations at school.
- Staff collect feedback from students and staff on all police classroom/school presentations.
- The School Resource Officer program in the UGDSB be discontinued.
- Administrators collect data on all incidents that police respond to at UGDSB schools.