Photo courtesy of Greater Victoria School District

A motion to suspend the School Liaison Officer (SLO) in the Greater Victoria School District was rejected at a board meeting on Monday.

Three board trustees—Diane McNally, Ryan Painter, and Rob Paynter—voted in favour of suspending the program, while the rest stood opposed.

In lieu of outright getting rid of the program, the Board passed a motion directing the Superintendent to form an ad hoc committee to review the current School Liaison Program for concerns and potential changes.

The motion was presented after around 40 letters were sent to the school board ahead of their meeting, expressing concerns about the presence of police officers in schools.

In response to the rejection of the motion, the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Color issued a statement calling for the Board to revisit the idea at their next meeting and address the concerns of racialized students and parents in their community.

“Trustees claim to have no data on the success of the program, but heard from many concerned parents,” reads the statement from the group.

“Asking students to prove their trauma, with ‘real data’, after many parents have contacted the board in this regard, is callous and unnecessarily harmful. It is not the safe and welcoming school environment that parents wish to foster for their children.”

The Greater Victoria School Board meeting earlier this week also renewed their five year strategic plan that aims to focus on creating an inclusive environment for students.

“A main deliverable for us through this plan will be engaging and collaborating with Indigenous educators and partners to examine and address systemic biases and improve outcomes for Indigenous learners,” said Board Chair Jordan Watters in a statement on Thursday.

The strategic plan was developed after consultation with students, Indigenous communities, staff, educational partners and administrators.