January 18th, 2021

Carding not the only practice that should end


By Letter to the Editor on November 25, 2020.

With this week’s announcement from the UCP banning carding (which I applaud), my thoughts turn to another infringement on the privacy and rights often perpetuated by law enforcement: the School Resource Officer (SRO) program. It’s time to have a conversation about the role of uniformed and armed police officers in our schools and its impact in the lives of young people.
As a longtime youth worker I have seen how young people, particularly Black, Indigenous and Arab high school students, are subject to over-observation and over-discipline directly related to having police in our schools. I believe they are deserving of more educational and supportive experiences of justice than they are receiving through the SRO program.
All kids (and adults) make mistakes and break rules; but when Black and Brown kids make or are perceived to make mistakes – they are often disproportionately reported to police (African Canadian Legal Clinic, Canada’s Forgotten Children, 2012). SRO programs, often despite the best intentions and goals of all involved, have been found to have an anti-Black and anti-Indigenous systemic bias. Students observed more often by law enforcement have their information put on file, and have their identity known to police through forced familiarity.
Policing in our schools escalates issues that could be resolved peacefully with proper investment of resources for prevention and conflict resolution. The continued collection of information of young people by police should be up for review, in line with the recent ban on unnecessary collection of people’s information through carding.
Edmonton and Toronto have addressed these challenges and ended their SRO programs. They are instead working to create other supports for the safety of children, staff and families that would come without the heightened risk of charging or even incarcerating individuals via schools.
More information can be found in Robyn Maynard’s excellent book “Policing Black Lives,” which provides evidence about the harm caused by having this kind of surveillance in schools. As does the work of Bashir Mohamed and Desmond Cole (who has an upcoming online talk, Nov. 26, sponsored by the Lethbridge Public Library).
We can create institutions of learning where harms are prevented and addressed, and where the privacy, safety and education of all young people remain central tenants of our practices.
Kristina Larkin
Lethbridge

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ewingbt

Lethbridge is not Toronto or Edmonton and if you look on the streets at night, not just downtown, but in several areas of this city, you will see a high number of First Nations roaming, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, prostituting themselves, and you may even catch them in your yard taking your kids bicycle, or stroller, or wagon, or stealing your car!
While you are at the Lethbridge Public Library downtown, look around the outside of the building and if you know what you are looking for, you will see young FN men and woman hookers selling their services, drug deals, pimps driving around in circuits downtown and even some drinking and doing drugs!
The highest percent are FN/Metis! If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime! It is what it is! The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that ALL are to be treated Equal under the law, yet you think that because they are over-represented in jails it is all about racism, prejudism! I am tired of people coming to this city making accusations when I face more racism by FN to me on these streets than is put on them!
If you are doing the crimes, expect to be challenged! I have seen many criminal acts downtown and most of them were by FN! Why? because they know they can get away with it, under the guise of ‘reconciliation’, the Gladue Principle, and Ottawa telling the courts there are too many incarcerated, so gvie them lighter sentences and avoid jail if possible!
I am getting tired of seeing them do crimes because there are no deterents in place, deterents to protect the citizens! There is a growing anger, and taking away the tools police need to do their jobs is just going to throw gasoline on a fire! People will only take so much!

biff

excellent letter – and to be sure, the hyper-collection of information on all students and people is beyond acceptable in a free society. the irony is that big corp an govt are increasingly secretive and exceptional, while the citizen is increasingly transparent. this is quite the opposite of how a free society should be operating.
how are we here, in an orwellian muddle? one reason is that the chasm between haves and have nots has grown considerably since the mulroney years, and the embrace of crony supply side, trickle down economics lies and corruption; in tandem, there has been the illegal, corrupt, costly and crimes against humanity war on drugs. together, these factors have led to an increased “need” for policing and hyper surveillance to sustain the new “order”- expensive as well as blatant intrusions into and subversion of our freedom. a second reason, one that witlessly justifies the unjustifiable, is the likes of ewingbt, whose alarmist, insecure, and exaggerated perceptions founded upon gross ignorance and fear fan the flames of fascism being sold as the saviour of freedom and security. too many chicken littles running about.

ewingbt

Biff if you actually looked at what it is like downtown and several areas in this city instead of sitting at home in your armchair, reading the news and looking sky after blowing a fatty, you would see the what is really happening in the world.
Sad . . . you are happy that Trudeau is putting vending machines across Canada for addicts to just scan their handprint to get their free taxpayer paid opioids . . Trudeau’s legacy . . I turned Canada into the drug addict capitol of the world!!
In just 5 years this city sunk into the abyss . . . Your fired!!

Montreal13

Destroying school property,selling drugs on school property equals or should equal, consequences. If it was my kid I would want the police and school officials to inform me and penalize my kid. Yes for some, more services may need to be addressed..



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