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Black, Indigenous, and students of colour are always subject to discrimination from SROs and police

OCDSB Community Member
"As a graduate from a string of OCDSB schools, I can affirm that my experiences with SROs were nothing shy of abhorrent. Particularly, I am reminded of a time in high school, when my friend was reporting sexual harassment. Instead of listening and responding with empathy, my school's SRO tried to poke holes in her story, and ultimate left her more distressed. And, this is as a white female; I cannot truly understand what people of colour have experienced at the hands of SROs in Ottawa public schools, but from the stories I've heard the experiences of my friend are nothing short of serendipitous by comparison, which indicates how poorly SROs in Ottawa schools truly are performing."
CEPEO Student
"Police officers have always held a hateful bias toward BIPOC and allowing this hate to affect students in their most precious time of learning and growth is cruel and unjust. Even though I never caused trouble in school I always felt the need to take a detour every time I would our schools police officers so as not to tempt my faith and I should not have felt as thought my life were in danger when I was meant to be studying. We need to do better for youth."
OCDSB Student
"Every time I would see a police officer in schools I would always get anxious (I’m a person of colour and live in a low-income neighbourhood). This feeling has always been with me since I was young and honestly, that’s sad. No child should be worried about police officers. I find that a lot of my BIPOC peers always stiffen up and change their personalities somewhat (by that I mean they take down their attitude a bit) in front of cops just so they don’t get in trouble (despite not doing anything)."
OCDSB Community Member
"In my experience, most students that I have worked with are afraid of SRO and don't use them as a resource unless they are pressured to connect with them by school administrators. In the OCDSB, the two SROs that are full time are at two high schools with some of the highest population of racialized students in the OCDSB. This contributes to the over-policing and criminalization that disproportionately impacts racialized people. Concerns in the school can better be addressed through mediators and community leaders whose goal is to support communities to thrive."
OCSB Parent
"A white Canadian parent call police on my black 7 year old daughter because she refused to play a white Canadian child because he was hitting her constantly on the school bus. After this incident, the white Canadian (8 year old) told the entire elementary school that his mom called the police on my daughter so all immigrants feared this child. My black 7 year old daughter was traumatized and every time she sees the police she would run because she thinks they would take her away, the principal offered my child counselling. This white Canadian parent uses the police as a weapon and drive fear in elementary school students."
OCDSB Community Member
"The police officer at my high school, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, pulled myself (14/15 years old) and another 14 year old girl into a room and closed the door and proceeded to scream at us for 20 minutes about a situation we weren’t even involved in, which he acknowledged repeatedly. He stalked someone I knew at this same school a few years later back to her home and broke into her home to prove she was doing drugs (he’d been harassing her previous to this incident). He was later charged. He only caused more harm in being present in a learning environment. There is no reason for police officers to have an active presence in schools."
OCDSB Educator
"I was a witness at Elmvale when Greg Ritchie was tased and shot to death while on my way to teach. I have since learned that one of the officers involved was part of a prior investigation, and failed to face consequences. The report that CBC initially released concerning what little the SIU had to say contradicted my own recollection of events. Organizations like the OPS have no place in schools."
OCDSB Parent
"As an educator and a parent of three children with OCDSB, I believe children/youth need to be engaged and approached in a peaceful manner when there is a concern. But, the minute you call men and women in uniform the trust of the child in the school system is broken. We are all aware of what our children see or watch on Social media in a daily basis therefore; we must be vigilant with the way we handle certain situations to regain the trust of our children and parents in the school system."
OCDSB Community Member
"As a senior citizen I have taught in high schools, teacher training colleges and at Universities in Canada and around the world. Police have no business in our schools. I can cite from personal knowledge the lives of students who have been mishaped by the school-to-prison syndrome expedited by the police."
OCSB Parent
"I have been stopped by police numerous times yet never cited for any moving violation. Black people are dispropotionately targeted and harassed by police. I have chosen to put my Black child in a private school to avoid the inevitable profiling he would in the public school system."
OCSB Community Member
"Suspension and police involvement is often used as a first reaction against students of colour in Ottawa schools. If education is to be a tool to fight inequality then we have to focus on community building and not violence."
OCDSB Student
"I haven’t had many personal experiences with OPS, especially not any bad ones, but I hear stories from my BIPOC friends and their family and I fear for them whenever I see OPS at my school. My immediate reaction is that a BIPOC could get hurt. I cannot compare my second hand concern to their firsthand experiences and fear, and I don’t want them to continue to live with that fear and that threat that they could be hurt by the very people that claim to protect them. The removal of OPS from Ottawa schools is vital, for my BIPOC friends, and their family, for their safety."
OCDSB Community Member
"I have witnessed that some ethnocultural former students of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board were/ are incarcerated at the OCDC detention centres. The schools should find other solutions that does not require police involvements to sending to jail. The school should use the resources prevention intervention with the parents and community involvement instead of police!"
OCDSB Community Member
"There is no place for policing in schools and there is no value added by SROs. Police presence at schools contributes to the criminalization of normal teenage behaviours, particularly among racialized students, that could be better responded to by other community and school services, and creates an unsafe environment in a place where students should feel safe and supported."
OCDSB Student
"Cops in schools do not keep people safe. The school board needs to invest in social workers, community health workers, financial safety nets and mental health supports for students."
OCDSB Parent
"The data from other Ontario school boards clearly supports the removal of SROs from schools, and that schools are truly safer and more inclusive environments without the presence of SROs."
OCDSB Parent
"I have been followed and accosted by an Ottawa police officer. He abused his power and followed me and aggressively approached me while I was walking with my child. If a police officer will abuse his power on the street in clear view of witnesses what will they do in schools, in front of children who have no power and little agency against the officers?"
"The research presented in The End of Policing by sociologist Alex S. Vitale is extremely clear on the school to prison pipeline and the criminalization of BIPOC youth through school-police collaborations. He's also clear on how overpolicing of non-criminal infractions take place in school. This violence in our communities, and especially towards youth, is abhorrent and deplorable and I am deeply disgusted that public funds are being used to harass, traumatize, and criminalize Ottawa youth rather than support them and lift them up."
All testimonials were collected directly from the Data of the NO COPS IN SCHOOL CAMPAIGN and were kept anonymous for privacy and safety purposes.
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Asilu Collective operates on the unceded and stolen territories of the Algonquin peoples. As racialized settlers, we are committed to uplifting the voices and demands of the peoples whose land we reside on.