Editor: The article entitled “Province won’t help Summerside put police officer in high school”(The Guardian, Jan. 22) was disappointing not only because I see it as a short sighted rejection, but also because of the shallow offhand comments made by Justice Minister Janice Sherry in defending the decision.
In essence Minister Sherry’s statement portrays a system composed of youth justice workers, outreach workers and police liaison officers who are assigned to work with specific persons at schools when support is called for or needed. Sounds great, but when examined, is rather nebulous to say the least.
Minister Sherry goes on to say that the jury is still out on how successful the Colonel Gray experiment went. From reading a number of letters and media reports there seems little doubt that the vast majority feel that the police officer experiment at Colonel Gray was quite successful. If the overall situation is as under control as Sherry indicates then those of us who see a need for a police presence in our high schools are needlessly “crying wolf.”
Well this old retired teacher has one more howl to make. Twice in the recent past, I have commented in this forum on the perceived benefits of a fulltime police presence in our Island high schools.
On any given day the majority of detainees at the Sleepy Hollow Correctional Centre could trace their problem to the use and abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, which most often started in their teen years. Minister Sherry says the province can’t afford a policing program in our high schools; and she is not convinced that a police officer in the school is the right approach. My reply: If we accept the premise that most of the drug abuse and addiction problems begin when our youth are of high school age then that’s the age to initiate prevention strategies. So it behooves the province to find the financial means to devise and develop preventive and recovery programs such as a police presence in all Island high schools.
St. Patrick’s Road.