The Toronto branch of Black Lives Matter (BLM) is claiming victory now that uniformed police offices are no longer welcome at the city’s schools. As CBC News reports, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) supported a resolution Wednesday night to end the School Resource Officer (SRO) program that was enacted to protect children from gang violence.
BLM has agitated against the program from its beginning almost a decade ago, claiming the police are intimidating black and other minority kids.
Members of BLM attended the school board meeting and cheered when its members voted to can the program. Rodney Diverlus, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, was ecstatic about the decision.
“This has been a 10-year battle with a number of organizations that extend way beyond even the beginning of BLM Toronto. The community was not consulted when this program was created,” he told CBC. “I think there’s a relief … there’s a sense of justice, there’s a sense that we’ve been heard.”The TDSB claims it is only responding to “marginalized voices” with the decision.
In a statement, TDSB chair Robin Pilkey said, “Over recent months, we have listened to marginalized voices that have not always been heard. We have heard loud and clear that the SRO program is not welcome by a significant number of our students and that’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to end the program at the TDSB.”
However, according to its own report, 57 percent of respondents supported the presence of police at city schools, with only 10 percent opposing.
Those numbers are outraging some, including the Toronto police who wonder what the school board’s agenda is. “How do they reconcile that?” Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack asked, suggesting the survey numbers demonstrated that public opinion was directly behind the police,
”I think they’ll live to regret that decision,” he told CBC News.
Toronto police began to patrol city schools in 2008 after a Grade 9 student was killed as a result of gang violence the previous year.