Students feel safer with police presence in Peel Region high schools: Study

A new study suggests the practice of placing police officers in certain Peel Region high schools made students feel safer while building good relationships with law enforcement.

The study from Carleton University examined the School Resource Officer (SRO) program at high schools in Peel Region, which is made up of three municipalities west of Toronto, from 2014 to 2017 to determine the value of having officers in the schools.

Researchers surveyed nearly 1,300 Grade 9 students at five Peel schools and conducted interviews with school resource officers, school administrators and community members.

The study says students reported being less fearful in school and in the community since the program began, and schools reported fewer incidents of crime and bullying.

Read Carleton University's full report by clicking HERE.

It also found that having officers in schools helps de-escalate difficult situations and keeps students out of the criminal justice system where appropriate.

The Toronto District School Board cancelled its own SRO program in November after a report by board staff found many racialized students felt harassed, targeted and unsafe when police were in their schools.

Ryerson University has been studying Toronto's SRO program with an interim report on key findings expected later this month.

with files from Siobhan Morris