Vancouver school board votes to bring back school liaison officer program

Some Vancouver school board trustees say student voices were ignored

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By Joyce Liew

Some Vancouver school board trustees say student opinion was ignored by the ABC Vancouver majority on the board when they voted to return police officers to schools.

Lois Chan-Pedley, a re-elected Green Party trustee, said that ABC Vancouver was rushing to deliver their promise which was made during the recent civic election.

“They [ABC party] feel like they can just push through this decision without doing the due consultation that they really should, despite the student trustee speaking up and saying the students really should be consulted,” Chan-Pedley said.

Voting on the school liaison officer program

Vancouver school board voted 5-4 Monday to re-implement the school liaison officer program after it was discontinued for more than a year. Janet Fraser, a Green Party trustee and a former board chair, said that during the meeting, Mia Liu, the student trustee representative, told the board that the student council she represents did not have a chance to discuss the ABC Vancouver motion.

“She [Liu] said students weren’t able to get any input on this decision because of the timing, ”Fraser said.

Carolyn Broady, president of BC School Trustees Association, said ABC Vancouver acted quickly.

“I believe it happened so quickly because it was a campaign promise,” Broady said.

Chan-Pedley said she tried to move an amendment to postpone the motion.

“The ABC party feels like they didn’t have to listen. The student trustee that we purposely put on the table to make comments and try to give us advice from the students’ point of view was so blatantly disregarded,” ChanPedley said. “It was very rude.”

Students concerns 

Fraser said an engagement survey done in 2021 showed that many students are concerned with having police force in school especially to the marginalized community, including black and Indigenous students.

“At that time, the police didn’t seem to be willing to modify it [officer program] to say how could be unarmed or to be not in uniform,” Fraser said.

Fraser said students’ concerns should be addressed before reinstating the program again.

The Voice tried to contact vice-chair Preeti Faridkot, one of the newly elected ABC Vancouver school trustees, but was directed to the school board communications office. An email form the communications office said advance notice of the motion was given at the board’s Nov. 7 meeting. The email said public consultations followed.

“The board held three public meetings to receive input from delegation presenters,” the email said.

The email said consultation will continue.

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