UPDATE #2: @Burnaby Schools posted this 3-tweet message Friday evening reversing its 5-tweet affirmation with the RCMP and apologizing for their tweets. The Burnaby RCMP has also removed their welcome back video. But read below to see what kind of continued engagement, dialogue and work all school districts need to do to address systemic racism in our institutions, especially the police. By the way, Minneapolis has decided to disband their police. Let’s get busy!
I was disturbed to see yesterday’s retweet of the Burnaby RCMP video greeting: [see the screenshot above]
This is a messed up world. White supremacy has been rampant for generations and with the deep inaction in BC and Canada about the TRC and MMIWG reports, and with #BlackLivesMatter and with police rioting all over the United States for over a week in their defense of being able to brutalize people without accountability, we need to be rethinking the role of police in society, the nature of force, the scope of accountability, the nature of systemic racism in policing, and how the presence of police in schools undermines the physical, emotional and mental security of students and teachers…and indeed whole broader school communities.
There can be no “warm welcome” for people traumatized from the abject disdain for humanity that police represent. Whether it’s the USA, the #WetsuwetenStrong RCMP snipers a few short months ago, to the RCMP killing Chantel Moore yesterday morning during a “wellness check.”
That you cannot see how problematic this all is, is disturbing.
You need to take that tweet down and apologize publicly, then reach out to communities constantly victimized by the colonial white supremacy of police forces in your city, communities, students, staff and schools as a whole. This is an opportunity to reach out and seek reconciliation with vulnerable communities for systemic passive and overt aggressiveness and trauma from policing, and the school districts’ complicity in their partnerships with police forces.
Surely, there are people on staff in Burnaby familiar with the school to prison pipeline, the arguments for defunding police, the nature of alternatives to policing, and most surely reconciliation.
You need to start now. People need to see leadership. Somewhere! People need to see you grappling with the realities of why you think you need police in schools and what your relationship is with the police. People need to see you addressing what defunding the police looks like and what embracing restorative justice needs to look like in schooling.
You have a special opportunity during these COVID times to make huge leaps forward to model how to be part of the solution to all this trauma.
Don’t waste it and don’t contribute, through action or inaction, to the further decay of our society by refusing to address systemic colonialism, white supremacy and white patriarchy: all of which are manifest in the history and current activities of the RCMP nationwide.
To do nothing is to take your 21 seconds of silence and let down the thousands of SD41 people who are desperate for leaders to step up. It needs to be you, modeling your courtesy, compassion and respect.
Yours in hope and broad expectation,