I am writing in response to "Schools not the place for black and white thinking" by G.D. Maxwell, April 20, 2001. I am a mother of three (all attend secondary/elementary school in the Howe Sound District) and I am a third year Criminology student. I can say with confidence that I am familiar with the position of School Liaison Officer and the importance this position holds as one component within the Community Policing philosophy.
I found "Schools not the place for black and white thinking" to be irresponsible reporting. The supposed topic of the article was lost in all the ambiguous rambling and rhetoric presented by the writer. The writer's childhood dreams of what s/he wanted to be when s/he grew up bear no weight - who cares? Readers need to know the writer's background; this gives the reader insight and adds credibility to the writer's opinion. G.D Maxwell's article was obviously not only in opposition to the full time School Liaison position; it was a venue for him/her to vent his/her displeasure with the Whistler RCMP in general.
I would like to address a few of the inaccurate comments made by G.D. Maxwell.
1. "100Gs for a full time position"
Where does this number come from? Is this per year? If this is per year this School Liaison Constable's salary would be higher than the Staff Sergeant's salary.
2.a) "RCMP rotates people through this town"
Yes, members do get transferred; Some in two years, some in seven years. A full time School Liaison Officer would facilitate consistency and provide the opportunity for a member to dedicate himself/herself specifically to the needs of the youth within the community.
2.b) "bizarre community"
Many factors define community, including but not limited to; geographic boundaries, socio-economic condition, and diversity amongst community members, not only ethnic diversity but the diversity of experiences and backgrounds of all community members including members of the RCMP.
3.a) "Schools are where we send our children to learn how to think, reason, deal with the ambiguity of life."
I expect my children to learn tolerance, acceptance and understanding while at school. I expect my children to respect others and to be respected.
3.b) "Sergeant Haider"
Actually, he is Staff Sergeant Haider. The Sergeant at the Whistler detachment is Sergeant Mossman. They and their team are dedicated, respectful and professional in their approach to progressive policing in Whistler.
A full time School Liaison Officer would be a valuable resource for the kids. This position would provide another opportunity for kids to become familiar and comfortable with an RCMP member. The DARE program has already successfully integrated police officers (and their guns) into the school system. A full time School Liaison Officer would be able to follow through with the DARE commitment to be there to help the kids.
There is a saying, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." The RCMP are part of this community (village). Please show them and the full time School Liaison initiative your support.