Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustees vote to end participation in school resource officer program
OTTAWA -- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) trustees have voted to end the board's participation in the Ottawa police school resource officer program (SRO).
The vote came at the end of more than four-hour long meeting. The final tally was 13-1 in favour, with only trustee Donna Blackburn opposing.
Trustee Lyra Evans introduced the motion at Monday's Special Committee of the Whole meeting, calling on the board to "immediately and completely" end its engagement with the Ottawa police SRO program.
"We have heard loud and clear from our community that there is no appetite for the continuation of this program," Evans said Monday.
The board's Office of Human Rights and Equity Advisor had previously recommended the board terminate the program.
"During the consultation process we heard from many community members who were deeply impacted by police intervention in OCDSB schools," said the report from the Office of Human Rights and Equity Advisor.
"Their experiences clearly indicate that people who have been pushed to the margins in society (e.g., Indigenous, Black, 2SLGBTQ+ and people with disabilities) continue to be severely impacted by police presence in educational settings."
Evans's motion also call on the OCDSB to issue a formal apology to the communities and students harmed by the program—to be published on the board's website, social media channels, and in local newspapers—and to ask the City of Ottawa to allocate the funds previously assigned to the OCDSB's share of the SRO program to be used to start a mobile crisis team for youth.
Ottawa's public school board pays $95,000 for the School Resource Officer program, with Ottawa police covering the rest. Staff informed trustees last month that the 2021-22 budget does not include funding to cover the School Resource Officer program.
Police chief Peter Sloly has previously appeared before the board to defend the program, calling it a point of pride for the police service.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, former Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau praised the officers who had participated in the program.
--With files from CTVNewsOttawa.ca's Josh Pringle.