MEMBER EDUCATION & STAFF REP UNION TRAINING (SURT)
FOUNDATION SKILLS ASSESSMENT (FSA)
Teachers have been discussing anti-racism in response to the local and global movements raising awareness of the profound and systemic racism faced by Black, Indigenous People and People of Colour. As teachers, we have a role to play in our schools and our lives unlearning racism and developing anti-racist practice, but individual efforts are not enough.
Press Release: Vancouver Elementary and Adult Educators oppose return of police officers to Vancouver schools
The Vancouver Elementary and Adult Educators’ Society (VEAES) reaffirms its opposition to the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) School Liaison Officer program, and Mayor-Elect Ken Sim’s commitment to reinstating School Liaison Officers in Vancouver schools without proper process or consultation with stakeholder groups.
“Racism and violence are ongoing challenges that Vancouver schools and all public institutions face,” said VEAES President Jody Polukoshko. “We stand with Black and Indigenous students, staff, and families who have spoken out about the harm caused by, and requested the termination of, the VPD School Liaison Officer Program.”
“As educators, we believe in safe and accessible school communities for all students, including those who experience greater vulnerability in schools and other institutional settings. Teachers have an important role to play in acknowledging the way that incarceration, police violence, racial profiling, and criminalization disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and people of colour,” Polukoshko said, adding that VEAES affirms the 2021 Vancouver School Board Trustees’ decision to suspend the VPD School Liaison Officer Program.
Teachers continue to raise the alarm about the increasing shortfall between funding and need in the public system, and to insist that the Ministry of Education and Child Care provide the supports and resources needed for meaningful inclusion. Additional counsellors, mental health supports, partnerships with community, and restorative justice programming are the keys to providing safe and caring spaces for all students. School liaison officers do not resolve the lack of funding and resources and, in many cases, create additional barriers for students’ access to school sites.
It is incumbent on the incoming Board of Trustees to acknowledge the consultation and communication that was conducted with stakeholders in the 2020–2021 process, and to demonstrate to staff, students, and families that decisions that impact safety and inclusion require meaningful consultation prior to change.
Jody Polukoshko firstname.lastname@example.org
President, Vancouver Elementary and Adult Educators’ Society (formerly VESTA)