How TDSB is addressing the rise in violence in and around Toronto schools.
The concerning rise of violence across the city and particularly, incidents in and around public schools, have prompted renewed discussions to address school safety.
At a December 5th Planning and Priorities Committee Special Meeting, TDSB trustees listened to over 25 deputations from students, parents, adult allies, teachers and community organizations citing their experiences and concerns regarding student safety and the role of police services. Delegations were followed by a presentation on SafeTO: Toronto's Ten-Year Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.
The meeting continued on December 7th with a TDSB staff report on A Collaborative Approach to School and Community Safety: Report 1, and two motions carried related to advocacy for reinstatement of Priority School Initiative (PSI) funding, and the establishment of local neighbourhood safety tables.
I am supportive of this approach which focuses on increased resources with participation from all levels of government, community collaboration and culturally-responsive partnerships to support student learning and well-being. I also urged the board to consider the ways in which racism and discrimination factor into school climate, safety and trust, and to expedite and expand partnerships to better serve high priority populations with intersectional identities and needs.
While many media outlets reported on a possible return of the School Resource Officer (SRO) program, there was no recommendation or motion to reconsider the policing practice proven harmful to Black, Indigenous and other marginalized student populations, ended by TDSB in 2017.