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Letters: School police officers help troubled youth

A Richmond News reader and former educator is defending the presence of police school liaison officers

Dear Editor,

I believe the RCMP are among the finest police forces in the world. 

I taught school in Richmond for 32 years as a teacher, department head, associate, and vice-principal and always valued the presence of the School Liaison Officer (SLO).

They showed students that a police officer is a much-valued addition to the school community as a friend, support worker, and confidant. The students looked up to them and certainly did not see them as the enemy — as some would have you believe.  

Sometimes a student in trouble with the law will seek out the SLO and ask for advice knowing that their conversations would be held in confidence. 

Having the SLO at the school makes it easier for a student to do this. All the SLOs I met were young, friendly, personable and easily made acquaintances with the students.

Many Richmond students come from countries that are justifiably suspicious and afraid of the police. 

It is good for them to see that a Canadian policeman or policewoman is a friend and can be trusted to act in their best interests. 

While studying a unit on drivers’ insurance, I invited the SLO to talk to my Grade 10 class. He had the students’ utmost attention during his talk and afterward was bombarded with questions on the role and tasks of a police officer. It was a very positive experience for all.

Keeping the SLO program in our schools is essential.

John L. Young


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