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VSB news release: VSB supports new relationship with police services - School Liaison Officer Program to be discontinued

| Categories: Media Release & Advisories, Board

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On April 26, 2021, the Vancouver School Board (VSB) made the decision to work with the VPD and RCMP on new relationships and to discontinue the SLO program by June 2021.

The Board thanks everyone – more than 1,900 participants – for engaging in this process and sharing their thoughts and experiences. “The Board heard from students, families and the community and will take the necessary steps to develop a new relationship with police services and discontinue the program at the end of this school year,” said Carmen Cho, Board Chair. “We are grateful for the commitment of the VPD and RCMP to our school communities.”

The Board looks to forging a new path for the future. “There is much work to be done and the Board will work to make changes that can better meet the needs of students and families,” she added. “It is important that all our students feel safe, secure and included in our schools.”

The VSB will work with its partners and stakeholders, and continue to share information.

 

Background:

In 2020, the Vancouver School Board requested that a review of the School Liaison Officer (SLO) program be completed to inform the Board in making decisions as to the future of the program in Vancouver schools.

Trustees were particularly interested in hearing from VSB students. The voices and perspectives of the students with lived experience with the SLO program and of students who identify as being part of the IBPoC communities was integral to this engagement.

The engagement summary report was received by the Policy and Governance Committee on March 3, 2021, and trustees heard directly from delegations at three additional meetings. The full report can be found at https://www.vsb.bc.ca/News/Documents/VSB-SLO-EngagementReport-Mar2021.pdf

The trustees considered the input they reviewed and during the April 26, 2021 Board meeting, decided to:

THAT the VSB discontinue the SLO programme, effective end of June 2021; and

THAT the VSB continue to work with the VPD and RCMP to:

a) Establish communication protocols and points of contact in the event of school emergencies, lockdowns, critical incidents and VTRA (Violent Threat Risk Assessments);

b) Determine a process to establish protocols and training for emergency procedures in schools;

c) Determine a process to request VPD/RCMP information sessions for students (“Stranger Danger”, internet safety, gang prevention, the legal system, restorative justice, etc.);

d) Determine a referral process to the Gang Intervention Unit and establish communication protocols; and

THAT the VSB reach out to the City of Vancouver and community groups that may provide assistance to fill the “gaps” identified by supporters of the SLO programme; and

THAT staff provide an estimate of the required budget for filling such gaps at the May 12 Finance Committee meeting for consideration of the Board prior to finalizing the 2021-22 budget; and

THAT the VSB contact the Ministries of Education and Children and Family Development to seek funding to hire counsellors to respond to mental wellness needs; and

THAT the VSB support the concept of community policing and urge the VPD/RCMP to develop more services at the community level, and to continue to support officers who are trained to work with children and youth with trauma-informed approaches; and

THAT the VSB engage with the VPD/RCMP, in collaboration with stakeholders and community representatives, centering the BIPoC community to develop trauma-informed approaches to working with children and youth with the aim of developing a new relationship; and

THAT the VBE sends a letter of appreciation to the VPD for supporting the VSB and its students for over 50 years.

THAT the Vancouver Board of Education requests that the Vancouver Police Department continue to support programs offered to VSB students including, but not limited to:


  • Indigenous Cadet Program
  • ARC Program
  • VPD Cadets
  • GET REAL Program
  • Total Respect for Ourselves (TROO) Program
  • Here4Peers
  • VPD Musqueam Basketball Camp

 

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Media contacts:

Vancouver School Board

For interview requests and more information, please contact: communications@vsb.bc.ca

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