No money to keep police officer at school

Dave Stewart
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A program which saw a police constable at Colonel Gray on a daily basis comes to an end in January. There is no funding to keep the program in place.

A police officer will continue to patrol the halls of a Charlottetown high school until the end of January but that’s it.

Colonel Gray High School and the City of Charlottetown wanted to keep Const. Tim Keizer on until the end of the year but there’s only enough funding to take the pilot project until the end of the first semester.

The first semester ends Jan. 31.

The city has been funding the program up until now but needed the provincial government to chip in $30,000 to keep Keizer in place until June.

Education Minister Alan McIsaac said government certainly endorses the initiative but that’s as far as it can go right now.

“We just don’t have the dollars at the present time,’’ McIsaac said Tuesday.

“We’re focusing on student achievement and that’s where we’re at. Our budget is pretty much set for the year but we did offer . . . to set up a meeting with the school board, the (government) departments and the police force and see what we could do going forward.’’

Kevin Whitrow, principal at the Gray, said Keizer’s presence at the school has been invaluable.

“It’s the effectiveness. When he’s here he has the relationships with the kids and with the staff and he knows the big picture. He knows what the appropriate thing to do is,’’ Whitrow said.

Coun. David MacDonald, chairman of protective and emergency services, said it is estimated 40 per cent of the students have a substance abuse problem to the extent they take drugs once a day or more.

MacDonald said it’s all well and good for the province to say that its priorities are numeracy and literacy but it’s awfully hard to concentrate if students are impaired.

“When you have 40 per cent of your students operating at below their possible capacity because they’re impaired in some way, that affects the delivery of the programs,’’ MacDonald said. “This is not just a question about drugs or alcohol or traffic or speeding or bullying, it also has a direct impact on the delivery of the educational programs.’’

Whitrow said Keizer has been effective in terms of the drug issue at the school, speeding or driving erratically in the parking lot and loitering off school grounds in places such as Holy Redeemer Church.

The Gray was initially supposed to be part of a pilot project with Charlottetown Rural but when the money wasn’t there to pay for it both schools agreed that the Gray should try it out for a year.

Whitrow said the school needs the officer to stay past Jan. 31.

“I’m afraid if we don’t have the full year of data and we don’t really have that full year of experience it may just be forgotten,’’ the principal said.

McIsaac said government has 63 schools to worry about across the province and is doing what it can, where it can.



Organizations: Gray High School, Holy Redeemer Church

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Luc
    December 30, 2012 - 08:40

    Call all the PNP friends, politic persona, etcl a for a donation, I am pretty sure that a small percentage won't hurt their budget at all. Or let me be part of this foolish PNP program if still available, I will give every red penny back where it counts.... Our kids, our future...

  • Parent concerned about drugs
    December 19, 2012 - 17:58

    One point I find is very important, why only this school? Great program, seems to be accepted by teachers, students,Police Services and the public. Win win situation, now all high schools on PEI should have this Pilot Project. Innovation Minister Al Roach is a fretired RCMP officer who specialized in drug enforcment, he should be pushing this 100%, no excuses about no money, this does not wash with the electorate after all the foolish spending over the past year. Our students are our youth, this is a no brainer, it seems to be working so make it happen and make parents proud of this Government if that is possible. Summerside should wakwe up to this, their City is full of drugs, similar to Charlottetown and others. If the Council can give away $2.1 million for a Concert fiasco, further millions to Fibre Optic surely we can put a Police Officer in Three Oaks High . This all is the ultimate responsibility of Mayor Basil Stewart and Deputy Mayor MacDougall, NOT TO OLD BOYS CLUB, which I might add is on its last legs.

  • Let's try this again . . . .
    December 19, 2012 - 15:38

    Okay, let's try this again. This government decides it's fine to pay well over $100 000 for gratuitous security on the Plan B site, but funding this project is not possible? Does this prove that this government is even willing to planb the kids?

  • FLO
    December 19, 2012 - 14:39

    How sad !! The government has money for everything else, such as new cars for the members!Should our children at the school not be more important than that ??? To think this was actually working at the school and they are going to drop it ?? Give your heads a skake and do what,s right for a change..

  • Idontgetit
    December 19, 2012 - 12:39

    I agree it is a great approach, prevention is key... but if the province is being asked to fund another police officer position, then be upfront about it. I am tired of the blame game... if it's a good program... which this is... then it deseves funding, up front. Never mind this... "The program is being cancelled because the province will not provide a measly 30K$..." This police officer will still be paid by the city, in his regular position, after he leaves the school. I don't understand why it costs more for him to be in the school or on patroll? Who is going to be losing their policing job because of this? Anyone? It seems to me like a money grab from the city. My point is that, yes, this is a good program, stop pointing fingers and work together to find out how this can be funded properly.

  • Margaret
    December 19, 2012 - 12:04

    I am all for this but I have to question.....if the Gray was to keep this Police presence, what about the other high schools on PEI? Should those students be entitled to this also?

  • Don't forget the big picture . . .
    December 19, 2012 - 11:40

    If Islanders don't laugh, we're bound to cry. Think about it and provide evidence if this is wrong: Factually, this government has paid well over three times what it would cost to maintain this program just to pay for needless security for Plan B. One kilometre of Plan B could have paid for this program for all of our high schools for the next 10 years. Sure, Vessey, Ghiz, McIsaac and other politicians will say this is a naïve opinion and that the budgetary process just doesn't work that way. Simply put, they're lying. It's time that Islanders demand that those we elect give priority to people over pavement. Given the current power relationships, that will take courage. Unfortunately, there's only evidence that Islanders are going to be planb'd over and over again . . .

  • Let's put people before pavement . . .
    December 19, 2012 - 10:58

    Modern policing is evolving from an over dependency on the "snag and bag" methods of old. This appears to be unknown by some writing here. What's very positive is that the Ch'town police force seems to know this, and at the school level there's evidence that the administration and teachers know this as well. Now, if we want to continue to ignore the value of early intervention and de-mystifying policing, keep the cops where they are, cleaning up crime after it happens. Great work Colonel Gray High School, City of Charlottetown and Const. Tim Keizer! Let's hope this government starts to put people before pavement and starts to put our money into projects that can really make a difference.

  • XComa
    December 19, 2012 - 09:33

    The Government needs to find the money for this project. They waste tonnes of money on things the citizens do not want, but when it comes to something that seems to be making a difference they do not want to pay... This Government is not with it. So out of touch... $30,000 does seem like a lot for 4 months. I wonder how many 30,000 dollars did the Ghiz Government waste in just the last year?... Oh BTW, don't let them 'Frack' our Island...

  • Idontgetit
    December 19, 2012 - 08:46

    Not sure how this works... does this mean that the officer in the school no longer has a job? Or, has there been an officer replacing him that will lose his/her job? Don't know that this is a dept of education issue or a best use of resources for City police issue?

  • Peiguy
    December 19, 2012 - 08:22

    PEI Best place in North America to commit a crime. Compare two articles in recent Guardian . Armed robbery nets convicted 35 years in US prison to the second that was that a man on PEI in an Armed robbery at a convenience store terrorized a 17 year old girl cashier. A child in Legal terms He gets 18 months and then the judge removes another 3 months because he was in custody!!! You read between the lines here. If we had reasonable sentencing somewhere between the two then perhaps there would be less drug use in our schools because the "Bad guys would already be in jail and not involved in using and selling drugs. After all many drug users sell drugs to afford their own habit.

  • James Macgoo Lakeside
    December 19, 2012 - 07:46

    What amazes me is the statistic cited concerning impaired students at school. If it is correct, the story is focussed on having police present to prevent them from doing damage as a result of substance abuse. This is important, but why is no one screaming about having some professional help or programs at the school to treat and prevent substance abuse. If 40% is an accurate figure, find a new school and move non abusing students there. Keep current school and establish a treatment facility at the site. Keeping the scool as is with an officer present is enabling and doing nothing about addressing the real issue. Rampid substance abuse!

  • john smith
    December 19, 2012 - 07:36

    Why doesnt Wes Sheridan give up his new car andthen we could afford it!! What's more important... our children's safety or him driving in style?? Again the Government have their head in the clouds!!

  • Every School
    December 19, 2012 - 07:36

    Blame McIsaac? Do we want this money taken from the education department to hire an officer to be in every school, or is this another case of only Charlottetown getting the funding? Right decision was made.

    • Joe blow
      December 19, 2012 - 09:10

      No the rright decision was not made. As a parent of a kid in that school I know that having a police officer at the school reduce the drug dealing and made a big diffence in that school.

  • Just The Facts
    December 19, 2012 - 07:33

    One area that has not been touched upon by any of the commentators is the issue of WHY are police officers needed in our school hallways. What's going wrong with our parenting at home? Why aren't there more after-school recreational programs offered to kids? Why are the anti-drug programs failing so miserably? Our high schools ought to be functioning in a manner that does not require the presence of a police officer. Let's get to the root of this problem! And, even if we accept that a police presence is truly necessary in our schools, will it be offered in ALL high schools across the Island? Must a certain level of drug use/crime be reached for a school to qualify? Who will pay for these services? It's easy to understand why a school principal and teachers in general applaud this pilot project at Colonel Grey. It obviously takes some of the pressure off them. For far too long now, we have thrown responsibility for so many family problems at the feet of the education system. Overall, I think if more Moms and Dads faced up to their responsibilities as parents...laid down their own law and ENFORCED it, there would be no need for a police presence in our classrooms. Parents, do your jobs!!

    • ???
      December 19, 2012 - 13:54

      Let me guess.You are not a parent.

  • come on
    December 19, 2012 - 06:16

    a city police person makes 30.000$ for 4 months WOW

  • GobertBhiz
    December 18, 2012 - 22:05

    CONCERNED PARENT, with respect, I understand your point about police walking the beat being the way it was done long ago, but I must inform you that this type of presence is exactly what most cities with actual budgets rely on - from Toronto all the way up to New York. A police presence on the sidewalk, walking among us, is crucial to keeping the random thuggery away from decent people. How do you think Kent St would look if we had actual police out of their cars? I've watched the police cars drive by, then the drug deals continue - right in front of the mostly-closed CPD mini-detachment at that. Having police walking the city is absolutely crucial to not only keeping up a presence and making people feel safe, but to deter crimes of opportunity. I've seen it far too many times - a police car drives by a group of drunk people after the clubs, the fights and random assaults start. The cops come round the corner again, the perpetrators are gone, the random victims lying bloody on the street. If police were actually out of their cars and on foot, they might be able to stay in trouble areas more than just a split second as they drive by. Imagine some of the known problem areas in lower University Ave if there were police walking around from time to time? Bottom line is, we need more police. We need more of a presence. We need them out of their cars.

    December 18, 2012 - 21:26

    The most disturbing thing about all of this is that we have a Pilot Project that seems to be working with a high success rate, than we have the Minister of Education on Compass stating its great but we have no money, BS, find the money, you wasted enough of it. One comment I do feel has to be addressed id not Police Officers on foot patrol throughout our City, this is really how Police work was done years ago, this is done with good leadership and direction from senior personnel, why is this not being done. Summerside is no better but than we know very well who is running the show up there, no leadership at all, great Police Officers in both Cities but upper level management needs a shake up. Get with the times. The taxpayers are paying for Police Services

  • your a joke
    December 18, 2012 - 21:01

    Go away MacIsaac, you are nothing but a yesman joke anyway. 40 % drug problem???? Are you serious? Ask for donations from those who have kids in the school. $30,000 is not a lot of $. This is a pilot project? Where were the funds supposed to come from?

    • Vigalantism has failed us
      December 18, 2012 - 21:29

      Who would have thought.

  • Politicians are all liars and thieves
    December 18, 2012 - 20:10

    The city has money for roundabouts all over the place including the airport at about a million five hundred thousand a piece,when traffic lights for about 100k would clearly have been sufficient, they lost millions on concerts, cirque du soleil, Jack Frost etc. The province has money for hills in Borden for about a million dollars. They ran up the debt by about 500 million during their term, not to mention the 1/2 billion in PNP proceeds that they and their buddies used for expensive sports cars and other toys, 20 million plus for plan B, millions of dollars for untendered tourism contracts,and yet they can't find $30,000 to pay a cop to keep our kids safe from drug dealers, particularly in light of all the recent school shootings. It speaks volumes about wheir their priorities are. How much longer until we can rid ourselves of these crooked thugs.

  • GobertBhiz
    December 18, 2012 - 19:58

    CPD has a very strange way of establishing a presence in Charlottetown. They'll never walk the beat, but will be available for private pub owners to rent their services. They'll assemble 15 at a time to check registration, but can't seem to muster up the manpower for consistent, meaningful enforcement of any traffic or pedestrian laws. It's my opinion that we have is an excellent police force being improperly delegated. We need more police. These recent, seasonal 'blitzes' of minor traffic fines and vehicle inspection dragnets are welcome, but we all know what a show of force means - it's a big push before 1/2 the force takes Christmas holiday time. How about some actual presence, and even the tiniest bit of concern that you'll get a fine if you go through that red light, or go 120km/h in a 50 zone on University Ave? Islanders are writing their own traffic laws out there, and it's not good. We need more than 2 seasonal chest-thumping inspection dragnets to keep us safe. We need officers out here with us, doing something about the recklessness and blatantly obvious problem of a total lack of bylaw enforcement. Any fool with a radar detector can own the road here. If I can witness a serious traffic violation every block in less than 1 hour on the roads, I'm sure we could use a little help out here. We need more police, be it on patrol, walking the beat, or in the problem schools. I guess Islanders think things are just perfect as long as the birds are still chirping in the morning. We've had an outlaw bike gang move in, and all we hear is, "don't worry". Status quo. How gullible are we, anyway? I don't want to be the one who says "I told you so" when it all hits the fan.

  • valuable
    December 18, 2012 - 19:30

    If he is making a contributation to the school include him in the student teacher ratio'That way any school could decide if this position was important to a safer learning situation for the students.Since the position makes the area safer,The City should pick up part of this ratio cost,which would result in the position being perhaps .6 of a teaching position.Each school and each community could then decide.Practical,

  • JAC
    December 18, 2012 - 19:28

    40%? Where did that number come from? Every day? Numbers like that in the paper need an explanation. Anyone asking questions? I don’t doubt there are serious problems in many high schools, but an officer isn’t going to change that.

  • pei is doomed
    December 18, 2012 - 19:28

    to bad the government can;t find the money to keep that cop at the school safety at schools should be number one priority but guess the goverment thinks ministers driving around a new cars payed for with tax dollers is priority need i say more.

  • don
    December 18, 2012 - 19:25

    i bet the news scholl where dizzy kids will be going will have police there at all times to PROTECT his kids. let wait and see

  • Poor Headline
    December 18, 2012 - 19:12

    Let us show respect to our law enforcement by using the term "police officer" or "Law Enforcement Officer". The term "cop" is slang and I think our police departments (RCMP and municipal) deserve more respect.

    • Boo hoo
      December 18, 2012 - 21:31

      who cares.

  • Hills
    December 18, 2012 - 19:12

    A solution.Sell the hills in Borden for fill at the 3million dollar cost,never mind any profit.Invest the money with Maritime Electric at the guaranteed 10%.Use this money .Problem solved.

    • ED
      December 19, 2012 - 12:22

      This is the best comment yet. Makes absolute sense too.