NDP calls for funding for cop in school program

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Party quotes Colonel Gray student as saying drug problem at school is "through the roof''

NDP Leader Mike Redmond

P.E.I.'s NDP leader says the provincial government has clearly lost sight of its priorities.

Mike Redmond is referring to news that Colonel Gray High School will lose their resident police office at the end of January.

Const. Tim Keizer has been the resident officer at Colonel Gray for the past term as part of a community policing pilot project. Both the City of Charlottetown and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development have stated that there is no funding to keep Keizer at Colonel Gray at this time.

"This is a question of safety, not only for the students but also for the teachers,'' said Redmond. "The minister of Education says the focus is on literacy, numeracy and student achievement, but none of that matters if students cannot feel safe at school."

Education Minister Alan McIsaac admits the program is necessary but indicates that there is no funding for it in the budget.

"I continue to be amazed that there is always adequate funding for large ticket items like roundabouts, junkets, and trips of cabinet ministers," said Redmond, "but when it comes to protecting school staff and students, there is no money available."

According to an NDP news release, one Colonel Gray student told the party that "there is a problem with crime at Colonel Gray. The number of students on drugs or selling drugs is through the roof. This year with Tim there the amount of drugs in the school has dropped considerably. There hasn't been a single fight, and more people are respecting the law and actually going to class instead of skipping to do drugs in the bathroom. I think everyone feels safer with Tim at our school, his presence has done nothing but good and his removal is sad news for many."

Redmond said government has a responsibility to provide a safe working and learning environment in schools and but isn't willing to do so.

"The lack of funding for Const. Keizer's position at Colonel Gray High School indicates a lack of collaboration between the municipal and provincial governments," said Redmond. "Ensuring the safety of our communities should be a priority for both levels of government."

The cost to keep Keizer at Colonel Gray for the rest of the school year would be $30,000, yet McIsaac indicated that despite consulting his cabinet colleges from the Department of Health and the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice, no contribution would be forthcoming from those departments.

"For a government that tells us that safety is a priority, this failure to collaborate, to identify a workable solution is disappointing," says Redmond. "The City of Charlottetown and the provincial government need to come together right now to find funding to keep Constable Tim Keizer in his position at Colonel Gray."

   

Organizations: NDP, Colonel Gray High School, Department of Education and Early Childhood Department of Health Department of Environment

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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  • UPWESTER
    December 22, 2012 - 10:10

    A lot of wasted energy seems to be put into whether a high school needs a full time policeman. To me, with 46% of students on drugs, more energy should be put on finding out why 46% are on drugs and do something about it.Everyone is focusing on the cop and not the problem. I would almost bet that the drug rate in an East LA school is not that high.These people need to look inward and stop thinking that the government can fix all your problems. What are the parents doing? What are the teachers doing? What is the Board doing? What are politicians doing? All these aforementioned groups have a fudiciary trust here. Stop trying to pass the buck. If one policeman can stop all this drug use, then there should be one in every school. Why does Colonel Gray have such a high drug problem? That is the issue.

  • IF NOTHING ELSE .... SHOW RESPECT
    December 21, 2012 - 10:16

    TAKES A COMMUNITY PEOPLE TO RAISE OUR CHILDREN!!!! COMMUNITY PEOPLE NOT ALL ARE RIGHT...NOT ALL ARE WRONG....WE WILL NEVER AGREE DEVISE A WAY DAMMIT TO GET ALONG AND SHOW KIDS HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE!! TIME TO BE THE EXAMPLE HERE PEOPLE!!!

  • Frankly
    December 21, 2012 - 10:15

    I have absolutely no issue with having a police officer in the schools. However I agree with W.Wilkins. Instead of the knee-jerk reactions, a comprehensive analysis of the entire situation needs to be done.

  • W.Wilkins
    December 21, 2012 - 08:06

    Before we take a stand on this issue, let's tease out the realities of this pilot project. This can only be done via appropriate accountability and reporting. Islanders need to know how this project is being assessed. What are its performance indicators? How are the results of this pilot being measured? When is the report for this project going to be released? Personally, as a former principal, I think this project is more than worthy of a pilot. What are the necessary conditions for its continuance and possible expansion? Let's first communicate about out how and why it's working - then decide if it's what we want.

    • insanity?
      December 21, 2012 - 11:00

      No doubt that due diligence does have to occur prior to expansion and extended funding. However, let's put the funding issue in perspective. Education Minister Alan McIsaac's government has spent three times the amount this project costs on security for Plan B. Using tax payer's money to protect a road, but not using our money to protect children? How did we become so contemptuous? Really, it's not that far fetched to call it insane.

  • mbonova
    December 21, 2012 - 08:00

    Does the Province contribute to policing costs in Charlottetown? If no - then everyone hollering at the Provincial Government and the Premier need a hiatus from their soapbox!

    • Tobias
      December 21, 2012 - 08:58

      Was it your idea to put in the Liberal ad on page A9 of today's paper? The one featuring all the Liberal MLAs who could not get their act together for this funding? Your comment smacks of covering up for Ghiz and co. so I thought you might know about this fear of Mike and the NDP ad the old red machine saw fit to buy for today. Just wondering.

    • MBONOVA opps . . .
      December 21, 2012 - 13:21

      MBONOVA . . . education is a provincial government responsibility - hence the PEI Education Act (http://www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/s-02_1.pdf). And that's why Education Minister Alan McIsaac is a Provincial Education Minister. That said, the fact that the Education Minister thinks that this program is "necessary" is a pretty clear indication that he hasn't read the Act either . . . or more factually, doesn't understand it.

    • Premier needs a hiatus?
      December 21, 2012 - 16:07

      To the person who suggested that the Premier need a hiatus from our soapboxes. Good Gawd, if you can provide even a scant piece of evidence that this premier has listened to anyone that doesn't serve his political self-interest and I'll burn my soapbox. And, by the way, education is a provincial government responsibility - hence the Education Minister's position and the School Act.

  • Jan
    December 21, 2012 - 07:35

    These kids are at a crossroads in their lives. If $30,000 can save even a few kids from going down that drug path then it shouldn't even be a discussion. I applaud whomever took this pilot project from a thought to fuitition. Good on you. There have been executive decision around that cabinet table for lots of "other" things over the years. I guess you have to ask for a huge amount to be considered. Keep on this Mr. Redmond. Where's the PC's on this issue - no one uping on this one - no political points to gain? For the kids' sake I hope they come up with this money - we all know the price some of these kids may be on our society in the future unless they are put on the right path now. Crossroads people Crossroads.

  • Just checking
    December 21, 2012 - 07:27

    The cancellation of jack frost festival will probably sav the police dept Tim's salary in over time alone.

  • concernedislander
    December 21, 2012 - 00:35

    People should realize drugs like most addictions are far from parents fault ,im sure most parents dont wish for there children too become addicts off any sort,look at it any way you want you cant be with your children 24/7 and most parents will try too explain the dangers in drugs etc.like most humans for what ever reason we seem too venture towards the harmfull elements off life and in cases such as drugs the out come can be very devastating too the users as well as the familys,the information highway better known as the computer with all its information has made it very easy too create your own drugs made from everyday cleaners etc that become ah cheap high for people and very addictive,too bad people in general didnt attend gatherings where ah parent went through hell and back again with ah son or daughter who became addicted and in alot off cases died from there addiction, take the time here them get too know they done everything with there children growning up went too church regualry involved in sports just whatever they thought was best only too loose there child to death by drug addiction and it is real in all walks off life rich poor in between ,honestly people instead off always the blame game educate yourselfes about drug addiction and if an officer off the law can save one child ah day or ah week who cares whos paying the bill since when do you dare put ah price tag on human life expecially the children off the future, hopefully there comes ah day when there are more people who will reach out to others expecially recovering addicts who will share there bone chilling experiences off near death and totall loss off many years off life while under the influence off drugs

  • How do you fire a premier?
    December 20, 2012 - 19:24

    It is about time islanders get rid of the premier for allowing his government to go on like this they are destroying Prince Edward Island. If we wait there will be nothing left for any goverment to look after. How do you get ride of him.

  • don
    December 20, 2012 - 18:58

    i wonder in the new school where dizzy's kids will be at i wonder if they will have a police officer or the national guard to protect his kids?

  • Frodo
    December 20, 2012 - 18:33

    So in other words it's supposed to be the goverments fault that parents are too lazy to raise their own kids. Until the kid does something good then they are ready to take responsibility for it. but when things go bad they blame the goverment. PEI needs to take its head out of thee bum.

  • Say What?
    December 20, 2012 - 17:31

    Let's see: millions of dollars for a road that could be made safe by reducing the speed limit in the problem area (Plan B), yet no one can come up with $30,000 to ensure safety and peace of mind for students and teachers at Colonel Gray? Am I missing something here? Is there anyone in government who has the big picture, who has the ability to recognize and establish priorities? Heck, one of the current MLAs could give up their car allowance and fund it. I was sort of proud when I heard the stats that Islanders are second in the country when it comes to fund raising for worthy causes. Now we know why -- we have to because the government isn't doing their job and someone needs to do it. Thanks Mr. Redmond for "getting" it.

  • Say What?
    December 20, 2012 - 17:22

    Let's see: millions of dollars for a road that could be made safe by reducing the speed limit in the problem area (Plan B), yet no one can come up with $30,000 to ensure safety and peace of mind for students and teachers at Colonel Gray? Am I missing something here? Is there anyone in government who has the big picture, who has the ability to recognize and establish priorities? Heck, one of the current MLAs could give up their car allowance and fund it. I was sort of proud when I heard the stats that Islanders are second in the country when it comes to fund raising for worthy causes. Now we know why -- we have to because the government isn't doing their job and someone needs to do it. Thanks Mr. Redmond for "getting" it.

  • fedup
    December 20, 2012 - 17:17

    Why not put it to vote across PEI to set a precedent for the country.1 full time officer in each highschool across our province. I'm sure the results would be majority in favour. Hell, its our tax dollars paying for it! What a sad democracy, the many being told no by one. We take it and don't raise ourvoices so I suppose PEI has what its got coming.... HST corruption and the silencing of true elected honest voices. The real issues are shrouded, hidden and swept under the rug. Poverty, unemployment and drugs, the gentle island.

  • Joe Blow
    December 20, 2012 - 17:13

    This man needs to be the next Premier of PEI!!! No more Liberals or Progressive Conservatives in power....we've seen them rob us taxpayers blind for many decades and its time for it to end and let some other party have a chance for a change!! None of the other parties could possibly do any worse than these Liberal morons have done since coming into power.

    • nitpicker
      December 20, 2012 - 20:42

      Next premier? Not yet. I continue to remain optimistic that Redmond will become a true alternative to the PC and Liberal options we have been subjected too over the years. But I've still waiting to hear a new voice, vision, or fresh ideas from the supposedly rejuvenated Island NDP. I've heard the type of comments made in this article many many times before from leaders of parties not in power. Heck, I've already read the same comments from Guardian posters. For the record, I'd like to see Keizer remain and believe the money should be found to make this so. But all of a sudden we're talking like one officer in one school, something that existed for only a few months, is the answer to all of our problems and our kids are in grave danger unless this cop returns. Easy on the drama folks. Frankly, I'm far more concerned about the level of drug use, vandalism, bullying and other things I've read recently. The next election is really not that far away. I'd suggest all parties, particularly the NDP because they have the most ground to gain, start letting us know how they are going to address these apparent issues more systemically.

  • up easterner
    December 20, 2012 - 17:10

    I know where you can find the money, send the likes of Ross Young and those other ones with jobs due to patronage HOME .How many does it Really take to run our small Island education system anyway!!!

  • Need more Tim Keizers
    December 20, 2012 - 16:29

    The Gov't hasn't lost sight of "it's" priorities. It has lost sight of PEI's priorities. It never had sight of PEI's priorities. Only thing it saw was the trough and it's still slurping away........ Every high school, junior high school and possibly every elementary school needs an officer like Tim to educate and help the students and parents with the drug problem which leads to most of our thefts, home invasions and assaults. The island need better addiction facilities and counselling. We also need more Police shutting down every drug dealer no matter how small. Get rid of them and the big sellers will go away. Courts need to support the Police effort. The money wasted by Gov't would easily have funded what is really needed to make our Island safer for all.

  • don
    December 20, 2012 - 16:26

    i guess Colonel Gray is the only school on PEI that is important. but then it look like the rest of the schools are OK. so it boils down to the kids in Colonel Gray in the CAPITAL CITY is BAD.then start searching and ARRESTING THOSE that are caught with booze, drugs. or would that mean that some of the high and mighty people of the city would not look good to have there child arrested ?

    • NDPNow
      December 20, 2012 - 18:54

      Do you have a point? Seems like you don't have a clue what to say you are just ranting against a good program because of the school it's attached to.

    • Andrew
      December 20, 2012 - 19:08

      Actually, other schools (the rural) has a full time officer. Jr. High Schools such as Stone Park have part time officers that are there on quite a regular basis. Arresting children for minor drug offences, or alcohol, etc, doesn't help ANYONE. They either lose out on their education completely, which leads to much more drug abuse, or spend months in juvi, which once again - leads to them meeting more people convincing them to do worse things. Having an officer in schools that NEED them (not all of them do need them), is going to allow the officer to do a lot more than arrest someone and throw them away. That officer will benefit kids by giving them a more personal experience with a peace officer, whether it be for help at home, help on the streets, anything, and he's going to look at it a hell of a lot better than locking them up. He's going to HELP them, rehabilitate them in a way. Locking kids up, kicking kids out of school, and making kids pay tickets is NO way to change anything. I also think you're forgetting how many of those kids already do get arrested, do you forget about when the police raided a common Colonel Gray hangout on lunch and got 30+ kids expelled? Hm? I suggest learning more about this topic rather than coming here and talking like you know all of these kids situations, unfortunately you don't, I don't, but 30,000 will help hundreds of kids, families, etc, in an extremely large list of ways.

  • Simone
    December 20, 2012 - 16:21

    Correct me if I'm wrong but we have 2 high schools in Charlottetown. My child attends the larger one ,you know, CRHS.More students at the rural and approx. 10 fewer staff. This makes no sense to me. I'm not opposed to police in the school but how about 2.5 days per week at each high school. There are drugs and fast drivers at both schools. Venture into Rurals parking lot between 3:20 and 3:30 if you dare. I'm not willing to pump my municipal tax dollars so that one school can benefit. Treat both city high schools equally or don't police them at all.Charlottetown was amalgamated quite a few years ago but i think some counselors did not get the memo(Mitch?)

    • right
      December 20, 2012 - 18:57

      Good thinking. If your school can't get it than NO school should. Brilliant. Let's run our entire government on that principle. oh wait. It seems we already do.

    • right
      December 20, 2012 - 19:09

      What a hero you are. Go ahead and send your well raised kid to that school. When he gets involved in drugs and violence you can pat yourself on the back and say you are the perfect parent and it's the fault of government your kid is messed up.

    • huh
      December 20, 2012 - 20:54

      It was a pilot project, to see how it might work and what the value added might be. Pilot projects are like test sites....they are done small scale. Such narrow minded thinking......

    • simone
      December 21, 2012 - 12:24

      Surprise Mr.Right, I teach at one city high school and my child attends the other. So. I'm there everyday and see the druguse but I know that it is equally as rampant in both High schools. My point being that if Charlottetown is going to pump municipal dollars into an officer, it is only fair that he be shared 50/50. As for my child taking drugs in the future...I can only work towards that not happening by keeping an open dialogue with my children. Also, I would encourage all parents to get involved with your childs' schooling( even though most teens would prefer that you not) You are the parent....step up to the important job.

    • simone
      December 21, 2012 - 12:56

      Surprise Mr. Right, I am a teacher at one of the Charlottetown high schools and my child attends the other.My point I was trying to make is that if municipal dollars are going to pay an officer, it is only fair that the two high schools share an officer. I am on the front line everyday and can tell you that drugs are a problem at both schools.Here's something constructive we can do ...get involved in your childs school(altough most teens will oppose this) and dialogue openly about drugs. Will my child succumb to drugs? I hope not but I am keeping the dialogue open.

  • solen diamond
    December 20, 2012 - 16:15

    if the city needs a cop at the school let the city pay for it no other school on pei has one , or the city put more money into the cops and keep the drugs off the streets, as for MR REDmond you got a very long road ahead of you my friend. thanks solen

    • Colonel
      December 20, 2012 - 19:09

      Spoken like someone who truly doesn't get "it". If you talk to the students at this school then maybe you will. There the ones chosen for this PILOT project .. no one is saying more schools don't need it. Finally, this is the city putting more money to keep the drugs away, if you seen the problem and seen the current gray you would understand the power of resource officers.