July 28th, 2021
On June 28, 2021, the Board of Trustees of the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) ratified recommendations, from the School Resource Officer (SRO) Review Committee, to end the SRO program. The SRO program had been suspended since June 2020, and the move to end the program aligns with our commitment to ensuring that our schools are welcoming and supportive learning environments for each and every one of our students.
Members of the committee heard that both the presence of police and how and when they are used in schools can create a sense of fear, increased anxiety and vulnerability for some, and especially Black, Indigenous, and racialized students. The fact that any student felt this way is not acceptable. We apologize, unreservedly, to the students and communities who have been harmed.
The Board is grateful to the students who shared their experiences before and during the review and to the committee for their work and dedication to creating inclusive spaces for our students and everyone in our community. Given the disproportionate impact on some of our most vulnerable students, it was important to end the school resource officer program in our schools. As the WRDSB moves forward, we will work with the Waterloo Region Police Services to create a procedure that clarifies and limits the role of police in schools.
Our focus remains on addressing systemic barriers and building a community culture that is safe, equitable, and just for students and staff. This can be seen in the ongoing work of our Indigenous, Equity, and Human Rights Department, including the recently adopted Human Rights Policy, and through our increased budget to support our work in equity, anti-racism, and mental health supports. Through compassion and collaboration, the WRDSB will continue our work toward addressing and eradicating systemic racism so each and every one of our students can reach their full potential.