Vancouver School Board to review role of police officers within schools

Jun 23 2020, 11:43 am

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) will be reviewing the role of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and RCMP in its schools.

A motion was passed during a meeting on Monday evening calling for an independent third party to look at roles such as school liaison officers as well as other related activities and events.

Trustee Lois Chan-Pedley, one of the three trustees who introduced the motion, said recent public debate “about the role of police in society” was part of what prompted the idea for a review.

“We’ve been hearing a lot of voices calling for us to end the program and I want to acknowledge the strength and their numbers in the last few days as well,” she said during the meeting.

“There has also been an outpouring of support for the program from current/past students of the district, from BIPOC students, from folks who work in agencies that work with youth, and from youth counsellors.”

Chan-Pedley says that she wants the review to “shed some light” on issues of duty, safety, and perception that are carried out by the police.

In addition to input from student and parent advisory councils, the motion also seeks input from Black community groups such as Black Lives Matter Vancouver, as well as Urban Indigenous groups. The VPD and RCMP will also be included in the consultation.

Trustee Barb Parrott, who put the motion forward alongside Chan-Pedley, stresses that “they’re not being excluded from participating in this dialogue.”

“That’s what I see this as being,” she said. “A dialogue that will help us make the best decisions that we can.”

The motion was passed unanimously, with parameters and expectations of the review to be established in the near future.

An additional motion called to have the VSB suspend its current liaison program. The motion was ultimately voted against.

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