An Equity-Based Review of Police Involvement in Schools: The School Resource Officer Program in the Louis Riel School Division August 2021
The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) is committed to deepening our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism across a community of 40 schools welcoming more than 2,100 staff and 16,400 students through ongoing dialogue and collective action. We have undertaken tangible efforts to gain a better understanding of the diverse identities and lived experiences of our students, families, and staff.
The release of an independent equity-based review of the School Resource Officer (SRO) Program in LRSD provides another opportunity to consider our individual and collective responsibilities in nurturing a more equitable, safe, inclusive, and just community in our schools.
The intended purpose of the independent review was to take an equity-based approach to inform our understanding and decision making relative to the SRO program in LRSD. This purpose was key as the intention of the SRO Program was to nurture a more equitable, safe, inclusive, and just community in our schools. The independent review prioritized the experiences of families who identify as racialized given the current and historic disproportionate negative experiences that these communities report with policing. Based on the findings of the independent review and further reflection by LRSD with respect to the SRO program, it was ultimately discontinued in 2021.
While we have received calls from those who would like to use the experiences of LRSD students, families, and staff to inform decisions in other jurisdictions, that was not the intended purpose of the independent, equity-based review focused on lived experiences specific to LRSD.
For reasons of privacy and in consultation with the Manitoba Ombudsman, LRSD is releasing the redacted report in accordance with LRSD’s obligations pursuant to The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. After receiving the report in August 2021, we shared all information within the report with investigative bodies in keeping with our legal and ethical obligations. The report and all comments made in the report were fully considered by LRSD as part of its ultimate decision to discontinue the SRO program in 2021.
We continue to nurture a culture that invites individuals in our schools to share their concerns with the assurance that they will be addressed. If you are a member of the LRSD community and would like to share an account relative to your experiences with the SRO program in LRSD prior to September 2021, please reach out to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) and Anti-Racism (AR) Services Office at (204) 257-7827.
Since receiving the equity-based review of police involvement in LRSD schools, the division has worked alongside staff, students, families, and community organizations such as Community Education Development Association (CEDA) and Equity Matters to strengthen our commitment to DEI and AR by:
- Establishing a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Services office in October 2021.
- Adopting Policy ACH: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in June 2021, strengthening the division’s commitment to advancing equitable opportunities for the success of all students. The development and implementation of this policy is one of the operating goals of the DEI and AR Services Office in LRSD.
- Developing Policy GBA: Employment Systems, LRSD’s employment equity policy outlines the commitment to the identification and removal of discriminatory and/or oppressive practices in all aspects of recruitment and employment. The policy is being developed by a diverse group of students, parents, and representatives from a variety of employee groups in the division and is currently moving through a community consultation process.
- Developing and refining policies to frame and guide decisions and practices related to police in schools.
- Developing and implementing an on-going equity-based professional learning plan focused on anti-racist/anti-oppressive education, trauma informed practice and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
- Creating, expanding and improving equity-based outcome data collection, analysis and reporting.
- Yearly census of students and staff to develop an ethnocultural profile of the LRSD community.
- The ongoing collection, analysis and reporting of disaggregated student data.
The LRSD Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team are steadfast in their commitment to strengthen authentic relationships built on trust and mutual respect by co-creating alongside students, families, and staff a culture that values everyone’s lived experiences, identities, and voice.