HWDSB Trustees vote to end Police Liaison Program
Hamilton, Ontario – June 23, 2020: Trustees have voted to end the police liaison program at HWDSB. The decision, made at a Board meeting on Monday, June 22, came after Trustees heard from hundreds of students, former students and community members that the program made Black, Indigenous and racialized students feel targeted and uncomfortable in HWDSB schools.
The motion that passed at the Board meeting Monday, June 22 included three actions:
- To terminate the police liaison program;
- To ask staff to review and gather input on the Police Liaison Program as well as alternative supports and programs;
- To ask staff to identify gaps with respect to students, staff and community and to identify next steps for developing a replacement.
The following statement is provided by Alex Johnstone, Chair of the Board:
“The decision came after staff identified program concerns as well as many of our Black and racialized students and families stated that the program had a negative impact on their well-being and learning. The Board has a clear duty to act on behalf of our students and address concerns that have been brought to our attention.
As always, safety will continue to be maintained first and foremost by our staff who have the primary responsibility for building relationships and creating safe and inclusive school environments. We value our long-standing relationship with Hamilton Police Service who will continue to respond to any incident that threatens school safety.
HWDSB will now engage students, parents, staff, and community partners to identify and consider alternative supports and programs to continue to build a culture of equity and inclusion.
While the Board heard positive examples of the police liaison program, ultimately, we believe this decision will benefit all students, and especially students from Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. All, not most, of our students must feel welcomed, supported, safe and engaged in their learning. This is the work of equity and meeting the needs of all.”
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Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
905.515.6227 | firstname.lastname@example.org