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Three Oaks Senior High School
SUMMERSIDE — City council has begun a process that could see a police officer in Three Oaks Senior High School on a permanent basis.
Coun. Tina Mundy raised the issue last week and brought it to city council Monday night.
She said since the proposal was made public, she has received wide-ranging support for the plan.
The councillor said this isn’t a plan to have a police officer patrolling the hallways of the school looking specifically for the criminal element. The plan would call for police to work with the school and with the students to ensure the environment remains safe.
The officer would be a liaison between the city, students, teachers and the parents and promote a positive relationship with the students.
Three Oaks principal Nicole Haire was at Monday’s meeting and she is supportive of the plan.
“My main concern is that people realize that we have a very safe, inclusive school,” she said following Monday night’s council meeting.
“However, I really feel that the issues that happen in the schools are part and parcel of what’s happening in society and the kids are bringing their lives with them to school each day.’
Haire said teachers oftentimes find themselves involved in activities that take away from their primary responsibility, which is teaching.
“They’re (students) dealing with a plethora of things that sometimes get in the way of them focusing on their education,” she said.
"We’re feeding kids, we’re clothing kids, trying to parent. We’re trying to do everything. There’s only so many hours in the day.” Nicole Haire, Three Oaks Senior High School principal
“As educators in the school, that’s our expertise — to help them with teaching and learning. When we’re using our time in other areas, such as policing or social work or mental health counselling or all of the other things that we are doing. We’re feeding kids, we’re clothing kids, trying to parent. We’re trying to do everything. There’s only so many hours in the day.”
Haire said she sees a partnership with the city as a worthwhile endeavour.
“It takes a whole community today to raise a child and any partnerships we can make with other experts in the City of Summerside that can help us help our students and meet their needs then I see that as a positive thing,” she said.
“Is our school safe? Our school is very safe. Are we dealing with issues? Yes we deal with the issues that every school is dealing with in Canada right now with all the societal issues that are happening.”
Haire said the school has a very strong focus on community building and communication and connecting the dots in the school building between staff and students and one another and parents.
She said it would take a special police officer to make the program a success.
“That person’s personality is going to be very key,” she said. “They have to be a good, strong communicator. Someone the kids can trust and respect.”