How should a school be?
Should a school replicate the world outside its walls? Should it prepare students for the way things are?
Or could a school try to do things differently? Could a school be a space for trying out new ways of life? Could a school foster social change?
These are some of the questions that animate the work of the End Dress Codes collective. They are also at the heart of the debate over the school resource officer program — the debate over the presence of cops in Toronto schools.
We are absolutely thrilled, and beyond impressed, that this decade-long debate has been decisively won by Black Lives Matter, LAEN (Latinx, Afro-Latin America, Abya Yala Education Network), Education Not Incarceration, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, Educators for Peace and Justice, and, especially, TDSB students — who organized with the aforementioned groups, responded to Board surveys, participated in community consultations, and presented delegations at sometimes hostile police board meetings.
These groups fought to win, and they won; we want to congratulate them, and we want to follow their example. We want schools that resist the injustice outside their walls: like anti-black racism, like the school to prison pipeline, like the prison-industrial complex. We want schools that try to do things differently — and we’re so grateful for the reminder that we will win.