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SD61 to not reinstate police liaison program despite calls from community

The board released a long-awaited statement about the SLO program
The Greater Victoria School Board will not be reinstating the school police liaison program despite calls from police, politicians, principals, and parents. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Greater Victoria School Board is sticking with the status-quo after calls from the community to reinstate the school police liaison program.

In a statement released by the board on April 19, the board said they continue to rely on policing services to communicate potential safety concerns and will continue to listen to concerns from staff, however, as of now the program will not be reinstated.

“The Board of Education’s decision reflects the evolving needs of students and the importance of safeguarding the rights’ of students. Out of respect for the rights of students, the Board of Education must ensure we have appropriate levels of clarity and oversight over the delivery of services to students while they are in our care,” noted the statement. “The Board of Education’s decision means that police will not be used to provide student services that should be provided by appropriately trained, qualified and regulated professionals.”

Community members have been calling for the reinstalment of the SLO program, which was canceled last year on the recommendation from the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner, after police said they have seen an uptick in gang activity, and gang recruitment in Greater Victoria schools.

Local and provincial politicians, police chiefs, principals, and teachers have all called for the reinstatement of the program.

Lori Poppe, an advocate for SLO’s and a founder of Parents and Police Together for SD61 and SD62, said she was disappointed and shocked to see the statement. She said the board is refusing to listen to multiple principals, parents, police representatives and others who have been effected by the growing issue of gang activity in schools.

“This is unbelievable,” she said. “We have asked for a middle ground, they have not met that middle ground. It is clear that the board did not listen to the pleads from the principals, from the administrators who are dealing with all of this now.”

Her and her group of parents and community members are going to continue to advocate for the program, and they plan to speak with more community leaders in an attempt to reinstate the program.

Read More: Notorious Lower Mainland gang infiltrating Greater Victoria schools: Police

Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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