School safety is important for all students and families. Feeling safe in schools can provide the optimal learning space where students feel a sense of belonging and are able to thrive, academically and socially. Yet, for many Indigenous and Black students in Winnipeg, safety in school is not the norm; schools are spaces where racism permeates their relations with peers, staff and police. This report finds that racism in the school system and from police in schools (School Resource Officers) is one of the main reasons schools are unsafe for Indigenous and Black students.
Researcher Fadi Ennab partnered with Police-Free Schools Winnipeg, a grassroots advocacy group of parents, students, and teachers organizing for equitable schools without police involvement to conduct this research. The goal of the project was to examine the experiences of Indigenous and Black families related to safety and policing in Winnipeg schools.The report is based on interviews with 24 youth, 13 parents or legal guardians, and two key informants. Most participants were Indigenous and/or Black and went to schools or had kids in schools in the North End or Downtown areas of Winnipeg.