Police officers will no longer be posted in any Toronto high schools, Canada’s largest school board has decided.
Trustees at the Toronto District School Board voted Wednesday night to pull the plug on the decade-old school resource officer (SRO) program.
The move, greeted with cheers from a boardroom full of spectators, was in response to feedback from students, parents and the community who warned the regular presence of armed police officers on school grounds has undermined some of the city’s most vulnerable youth.
“I think it’s a really important moment,” trustee Marit Stiles said after the vote, which was not unanimous.
“The community has been telling us for some time that this program has been problematic,” added Stiles, who supported the motion to discontinue it.
One vocal opponent who for years has been advocating an end to the SRO program, called it “a transformative and courageous change” by the board.
“The TDSB has taken a bold stance for equity,” said Andrea Vasquez Jimenez, co-chair of Latinx, Afro-Latin America Abya Yala Education Network (LAEN).
The decision means officers posted to 45 TDSB high schools last year will not return there for regular duties. They had not been in schools this year because the board suspended the SRO program in August pending its review.