Program that put armed officers in schools suspended by TDSB trustees

August 31, 2017

Trustees with the Toronto District School Board voted late Wednesday to suspend the program that put armed officers in three-dozen schools pending a board review.

The trustees voted to halt the School Resource Officers program until at least November as they survey staff and students, and also engage in community consultations.

"We really felt that we could not conduct that review in a situation where students might not feel that they were secure and confident in their anonymity to speak openly about how they felt about the program," trustee Marit Stiles told CBC Toronto Thursday morning.

The program was launched in 2008, the year after Jordan Manners was shot and killed at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate. He was 15.

Under the program, officers were deployed in 36 of 75 TDSB schools. However, activist groups such as Black Lives Matter Toronto have been demanding that the program be scrapped as one measure aimed at addressing anti-black racism in the education system.

Earlier this year, the Toronto Police Services Board voted in favour of an independent review of the program, which is being conducted by representatives from Ryerson University. 

Tory said Thursday that at that time, he voted in favour of keeping the program while that review carried on. He acknowledged that the program has its detractors, but he was surprised that the TDSB trustees voted as they did.

"I thought the school board would do what we were doing at the Police Services Board, which is to have a very thorough review, which takes very particular account of some of the concerns that have been expressed in the negative about this program, listen to all points of view in all parts of the community, and then make a decision," Tory said. 

Read more: Program that put armed officers in schools suspended by TDSB trustees