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LETTER: Stop promoting policing as an antidote to bullying

Re: Delta’s Battle of the Badges returns this Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 16, 2023)
More than 1,600 students watched the 2018 Battle of the Badges, a hockey game between Delta Fire Emergency Services and the Delta Police Department in support of anti-bullying. After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Battle of the Badges returns on Feb. 22, 2023. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Re: Delta’s Battle of the Badges returns this Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 16, 2023)

Could we please stop promoting policing as an antidote to bullying? As the recognized monopoly on violence in society, one could very well argue that police are the instrument of bullying par excellence.

Certainly, the family members of people killed by police would not see them as a solution to bullying. This is especially so given that a disproportionate number of people killed by police are experiencing mental health distress and are often in crisis when they are killed.

Mental health advocates point out that police are trained and deployed on a compliance basis, which often heightens distress for people already in crisis. What is compliance if not bullying? Real anti-bullying means care and compassionate support, not armed, potentially lethal force.

We might also ask why 1,900 students are being taken out of class for what is essentially a public relations exercise for policing? What is the educational value in this? Particularly when racialized students, especially Black and Indigenous students, have said that they do not feel safe around police in school contexts.

If we want to do anti-bullying work — and we should — it should be prioritizing and promoting care and support for health and wellness. Non-violent resources, not violent ones.

Dr. Jeff Shantz

Department of Criminology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University


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