Public school board will not reopen resource officer debate

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) voted to not reopen the debate into the School Resource Officer (SRO) program suspension that was shot down last week.

The EPSB voted on whether to reopen the debate after former trustee Cheryl Johner resigned following controversial statements last week.

Johner was one of the trustees who voted against the suspension of the SRO program. That vote ended in a tie, defeating the motion.

EPSB Chair Trisha Estabrooks said after Johner’s resignation she wanted to revisit the issue.

“I realize now that my desire for evidence-based decision making is in fact a way of perpetuating the status quo,” said Estabrooks.

In order to reopen the debate into suspending the SRO program the trustees needed to unanimously vote to do so. The vote was 6-1, meaning the motion did not pass.

Trustee Ken Gibson was the lone vote against, saying he needs more information on whether suspending the program contravenes board policy.

“If so what are implications of approving a motion to suspend? It would be appreciated if the administration’s response could be scheduled to assist board deliberations about the motion when it comes forward in September.”

The EPSB is awaiting a report on the role and cost of SROs in Edmonton public schools. There is no timeline yet on when the report will be complete.

The next EPSB meeting is scheduled for September 8, 2020.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Sarah Plowman