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Parents wary of allowing cops unrestricted access to schools

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"I would never want my officers to be educators," responded Haider. "I want them there as a human beings who happen to be police officers."

"Well I don’t think this is the place," said Kleinman. "Is this an RCMP marketing initiative you are asking me to fund? If so, then we have got a real problem."

Kleinman pointed out students bond with teachers and counsellors who are often with kids through most of their school careers and are seen as protectors. RCMP officers, on the other hand, move on every few years.

Some parents feel the school police position is being used as a way to garner additional staffing dollars for the local force.

The Whistler detachment has 21 police officers. Haider said work on the mountains and in the village draws away from community work. This would be one way to ensure a dedicated resource.

The concept of a school liaison officer was created in Liverpool, England in 1951. It was brought to North America in 1958 and launched in Vancouver at Killarney Secondary School in 1972.

All police detachments in the Greater Vancouver area have school liaison teams. There are now 20 school districts in the province that have school liaison officers. All are fully funded by municipalities, apart from the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows area. All are areas with large population bases.

Before making any decisions, the PAC wants to hear from the broader education community.

"You are the grass roots," noted Haider. "You go out to other parents and ask them. It’s your children. Ask them. See if there is enough consensus."