Peel Regional Police say the service’s school resource officer (SRO) program is being dissolved after community members raised multiple concerns, including systemic racism.
“It was evident during the consultation phase that the current SRO program caused a negative impact on segments of our student population,” a statement issued Wednesday evening said.
“As a result, the first order of business was to dissolve the SRO program and acknowledge publicly that change was necessary.”
Police said while they heard there was support for the program “in many segments of the community,” there were “long-standing concerns about systemic racism and the disproportionately punitive effects this type of traditional programming can produce.”
Chief Nishan Duraiappah announced the suspension of the SRO program in July in order for consultation to occur.
Police said the program, which was created more than 20 years ago, was aimed at developing relationships with students and addressing issues on school property.
Spokespeople for the Peel District School Board and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board previously said they supported pausing the program.
“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,” PDSB interim director of education Jaspal Gill said in July.
— With files from Ryan Rocca
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