Edmonton Public Schools has suspended its school resource officer program for the 2020/2021 school year.
Supt. Darrel Robertson made the decision to suspend after school trustees voted to review the program in the summer, but not suspend it until the review was complete. Instead, the Edmonton Police Service will create an alternative youth enhancement deployment program.
The board is still on the hook for $325,000 because of a memorandum of understanding that requires giving the police department notice before cancelling the contract.
Board Chair Trisha Estabrooks says the trustees support this decision. She says the program is dramatically different because officers are no longer stationed in the schools.
On Friday morning, EPS released a statement saying they were “disappointed” to learn the program had been suspended.
“The EPS enjoyed working collaboratively with the students, staff and school administrators of EPSB and will be participating in the upcoming independent review of the SRO program.”
School trustees voted in June to hire an independent researcher to review SROs, but opted to keep the program running until the review was completed.
The researcher was to be asked to review of past research on similar programs, including an analysis of experiences of students and families with SROs, especially those of Black, brown and Indigenous students, and those with disabilities.