I, along with several parents I have spoken to online or by phone, are deeply concerned about the recent announcement that the Estevan Comprehensive School is taking measures to address growing violence within this school.
Several parents have reported that their children are afraid to use the washrooms in the school, for fear they could be assaulted. And indeed, this has happened, according to my discussion with the principal.
As a result, the school is removing the outer doors to the washroom and using cameras to monitor who goes in and who goes out, among other measures.
I have a unique perspective in that I covered court in North Battleford for four years for the local paper there, and more recently, I covered Estevan docket court for the Estevan Mercury for about two years.
There was so little to report on in Estevan Provincial Court that I made it an unofficial policy to report on each and every drunk driver, otherwise I would hardly have any stories to write about. This was in sharp contrast to North Battleford, where I frequently spent two to three days in court, and could have filled the entire paper. That community had a designated youth court day, every Tuesday morning. In two years, I think I covered two youth cases in Estevan.
I strongly suggest that the Estevan Police Service deploy a sworn member to ECS from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., each and every day that school is in session. That member should have a desk in the courtyard, and eat their lunch in the cafeteria. They should not be in an office. They should do regular walk arounds and ensure that washrooms are safe.
I do not mean a rent-a-cop security guard. I mean a full police officer. Maybe they’re on light duties. Or maybe they can work on their laptop in the courtyard. But we, as Estevan taxpayers, are paying for the police’s service. And if there isn’t that much crime on the streets during the day, but kids can’t go to the washroom without fear, then that is where the police should be.
We added 14 years to our mortgage to come to Estevan, in large part because it was a safer community.
It is much better to sort out these issues with the trouble-makers now, when they are 17, than when they are 23. And our kids need to feel safe. Period.