The Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) Zone 1 Awards luncheon held yesterday in Peace River provided an opportunity for Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) Trustees to recognize members of the three local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Detachments in Grande Prairie, Beaverlodge and Spirit River for their contributions to education.
The annual event celebrates Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominees and Friends of Education Award winners from Zone 1, which includes school divisions from Grande Prairie to Fort Vermillion. PWSD Board Chair Dana McIntosh and PWSD Trustee and Zone 1 Chair Sharilyn Anderson presented the 2017 Friends of Education Award to Constable Daniel Hine of the Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment, who accepted the award on behalf of his colleagues.
Ms. McIntosh commended the RCMP for the tremendous support they provide to PWSD schools, and for including the reduction of youth involvement in crime, both as victims and offenders, among its five strategic priorities.
In her speech, Ms. McIntosh noted, "The positive impact of the RCMP is evident in many of our schools. You will find them dropping in to visit students and staff, joining basketball and volleyball games, attending bike rodeos, enforcing school zones, and flipping pancakes at school breakfast programs."
In their official capacity, the RCMP offer school presentations to promote safety, wellness, and good behavioural choices. They advise about the risks of social media, drugs, fighting, and bullying. Grade 6 students participate in the RCMP-led Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. Officers play themselves in school-based Trauma Drama events, bringing a sense of gravity to reenactments of vehicle crashes as an emotional plea to students about the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence. The RCMP also operate the School Action for Emergencies (SAFE) database to deliver site-specific emergency response plans in the event of a critical incident at a school.
Peace Wapiti Academy in Grande Prairie is fortunate to have a School Resource Officer (SRO) on site, providing students with opportunities for one-on-one contact with an RCMP officer. Principal Wanda Gerard has often expressed appreciation for the RCMP presence, and says the SRO is an active member in the school's learning community.
SROs conduct classroom presentations, meet with students one-on-one, participate in extra-curricular activities, and, when asked, will join counseling sessions and provide information and support at meetings between students and administration.
Ms. McIntosh presented Cst. Hine with a framed certificate, "as a token of gratitude for the work the RCMP does in PWSD schools, especially for the way in which their programs work toward shaping the next generation."
Photo Caption: PWSD Board Chair Dana McIntosh (right) and PWSD Trustee and Zone 1 Chair Sharilyn Anderson (left) presented PWSD's 2017 Friends of Education Award to Constable Daniel Hine of the Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment, who accepted the award on behalf of his colleagues. Photo courtesy of High Prairie School Division.