Data on Edmonton police officers in schools shows program must end, researchers say

Data on Edmonton police officers in schools shows program must end, researchers say

Edmonton public, Catholic schools conducting reviews of program

Data on the use of police in Edmonton classrooms suggests some students are being shepherded toward the justice system, say the independent researchers who gathered the data. The Edmonton SRO Research Project examines 10 years of data about the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, obtained through a freedom of information request. Researchers Alex Da Costa and Bashir Mohamed want to see the program end and hope the project will create a more-informed debate. "We think everyone deserves to see the raw data and to make their own conclusions." The SRO program has operated for about 40 years and places Edmonton police officers in some junior and senior high schools. According to the data on outcomes, there were 4,911 suspensions and 645 expulsions reported through the program between September 2011 and March 2020. The data does not indicate whether these were individual students or repeated sanctions. The data shows 3,231 charges were issued from September 2011 through June 2018, although it does not indicate whether these are criminal. This includes 1,606 charges in 2016  — about 16 times the previous year — which the researchers believe to be an error. From September 2018 through to the end of 2021, 271 criminal charges were laid. The project's analysis puts the total at more than 2,000 charges over the 10-year period. About 20,000 students were labelled as offenders, excluding around 3,000 offenders designated as N/S or "non-student." There are currently 14 SROs across 17 schools in Edmonton. Mohamed said while SROs do engage in community relations — the data shows numerous hours dedicated to coaching, counselling and other activities —  the numbers also demonstrate an underplayed punitive aspect of the program, which has harmful impacts on the lives of students. A Youth Enhanced Deployment model now sees officers assigned over north and south geographic areas to respond to school calls while doing community policing. 

 

Original Article Link:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/data-on-edmonton-police-officers-in-schools-shows-program-must-end-researchers-say-1.6393957

 

 


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