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District engages third party for review of School Liaison Officer program

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The Vancouver School Board (VSB) supports a safe and positive school and community environment, recognizing the varied lived experiences of our students and their families.

The safety and wellbeing of children and youth has been a shared responsibility of schools and community with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) for more than 40 years through the School Liaison Officer program.

In 2020, acts of racism and discrimination involving police in North America have elevated our collective consciousness and concern and have also raised questions from the community about police presence in schools.  In keeping with our goal of continuous improvement and being responsive to the community, the Vancouver School Board has 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 this program in Vancouver schools. 

At the October 26, 2020 Board meeting, trustees revised a previous motion on the SLO program dividing the review into two distinct parts.

Part l: Background and Context Report

Retired Secretary Treasurer Joan Axford was engaged to compile a report for the Board outlining the history of the SLO program, scope of the program, an overview of school liaison programs in other jurisdictions, and information on restorative justice programming. This document will form part of the final report on the SLO program to be submitted to the Board.

Part ll: Student and Stakeholder Engagement

The Board is most interested in receiving input from stakeholders on the SLO program as part of this review. Trustees are particularly interested in hearing from VSB students. The voices and perspectives of students with lived experience with the program and of students who identify as being part of the BIPOC community will be sought out as part of this engagement.

Argyle Communications has been contracted to conduct the engagement process. lnput from stakeholders will be collected through a series of strategies including focus groups, interviews and surveys. All input received will be shared with the Board for their review and consideration.

It is important to note that Argyle Communications has not been asked to make any recommendations as part of this engagement process. Rather they have been asked to structure and facilitate a safe, accessible and inclusive process through which input and feedback is gathered. Their final report will include any recommendations heard from participants through the engagement process.

More about the Engagement Process

Argyle Communications, on behalf of VSB, is leading an accessible and inclusive engagement program that centres the voices of students who have direct experience with the SLO program, particularly those who identify as being part of BIPOC communities. In support of this work, they offer four streams to collect student and community feedback. Those are:

  1. Interviews with key stakeholders, including student, parent, community and VSB employee groups.
  2. An online survey for Vancouver students and parents/guardians (open until February 15) (if you are a secondary student or parent/guardian of a secondary student with direct experience with the SLO program and/or identify as a member of the BIPOC community, please contact your school counsellor for information).
  3. Student-centered online group discussions for student reps who have direct experience with the SLO program and/or those who identify as being part of BIPOC communities.
  4. Written submissions (collected until February 19) from any individual or organization who want to provide feedback. Send submissions to vsbengage@argylepr.com 

All feedback will be collected to inform a What we heard report. Submissions will be included as an appendix to the report. If individuals or groups wish to remain anonymous, Argyle will remove their name(s), affiliation(s), and any other identifiers in the text. This report will be presented at the Policy and Governance Committee on March 3. View the report: School Liaison Officer Program: Engagement Report

Members of the community who wish to share directly with trustees are invited to present to a Committee of the Whole on March 8. 

The Vancouver School Board welcomes those who wish to speak at the online Special Board/Committee of the Whole meeting regarding the School Liaison Officer (SLO) Program Review Report.

There has been a great deal of interest and engagement regarding the School Liaison Officer program, and it is expected that many individuals will want to share their input directly with the Board on this topic.

To ensure the Board hears from many, speaking priority will be given to Vancouver residents and/or organizations which represent Vancouver residents. Presenters will have a maximum of 5 minutes to speak.

Vancouver Residents:

Vancouver residents (or organizations that represent Vancouver residents) who wish to present to the Committee of the Whole must register by noon on Friday March 5, 2021. Due to the anticipated high number of presenters, no late requests will be accepted.

If you would like to register to present, please send your full name, the name of the organization or group you represent (if applicable), your email address, a contact phone number to:

The Secretary Treasurer’s Office

c/o       Shamirah Khan, Administrative Office Assistant – skhan@vsb.bc.ca

            Marlene Phillips, Executive Assistant – msphillips@vsb.bc.ca

Again, all requests to present must be received by noon on Friday, March 5, 2021. Your registration will be confirmed by the Secretary Treasurer’s Office.

Non-Vancouver Residents:

Non-Vancouver residents who wish to provide input to the Board are asked to submit it via email to SLOreview@vsb.bc.ca by noon on Friday, March 5, 2021. All emails received will be provided to trustees for their consideration.

Who is Argyle Communications

Argyle has over 30 years of experience leading engagement programs across the country. It executes and designs complex and integrated programs that focus on shaping public policy, developing public infrastructure and supporting diverse groups and communities that have historically been underrepresented. Argyle earns trust as clear, unbiased mediators at the table allowing voices to be heard and doing meaningful work that contributes to business and social outcomes.

Argyle’s diverse workforce is a source of strength and pride to those at the agency, particularly among the large and growing number of emerging leaders at the director level. The agency recognizes that the leadership team is less diverse today than it aspires it to be tomorrow. That is why senior members of the team are expected to pursue training and ongoing education on equity, diversity and inclusion. Just under 20% of the leadership team identifies as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, including the CEO and majority owner who identifies as Latino and mixed race.

To contact Argyle: vsbengage@argylepr.com

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