UBC Theses and Dissertations
Trapped by a record : how information sharing between schools and police agencies perpetuate the school to prison pipeline Abaya-Habibullah, Ritchelle Aubrey
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in 2020, global protests generated public scrutiny about policing in our communities. Between 2020 and 2022, many school boards in Canada began to re-evaluate the value of having police in schools, as school resource officers or school liaison officers, with many boards eventually electing to end these programs altogether. In the United States, this conversation has been ongoing for decades. Accordingly, research into police relationships with schools and the school to prison pipeline is robust. Unfortunately, there is a lack of scholarly research about police and schools in Canada. Consequently, this thesis seeks to situate the complex processes that construct the school to prison pipeline through the issue of information sharing between police and schools in Canada. It asks 1) how formal and informal youth records are used by educational institutions and police services and 2) how these interactions and institutional relationships impact youth and potentially contribute to the school to prison pipeline. First, this thesis looks at the legislative scheme that allows the disclosure of information between police and school administrators under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. It traces the evolution of youth criminal justice legislation in Canada and the arguments and political forces that led to scaling back some of the privacy protections for youth set out in the Act. Second, it analyzes the research on the school to prison pipeline in the United States and the available data on police in schools in Ontario, using identified processes from the US scholarship and applying them to relevant Ontario examples. Finally, key informants from Ontario who work with youth in the justice system, lawyers who provide youth legal services, and a school administrator were interviewed to identify information sharing practices and issues with policing in schools. It concludes that the information sharing exceptions in the YCJA and information sharing practices between schools and police frustrate a central purpose of the legislation – rehabilitation.
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