Issue 1.1 Monday, April 7, 2003

The Respect Program
by Sarah Craig

Starting a new school year can be overwhelming for both the students of the uptown schools and the merchants of the business that the students frequent. To help with the adjustment the Saint John Community Police force organized a group to speak to each grade nine-homeroom class. The groups consist of a member of the Saint John Police force, the head of security for Brunswick Square, an uptown merchant and a grade twelve student from Saint John High.

The senior from Saint John High has the opportunity to discuss with the students issues that concern the school specifically such as where to find information in the guidance office. As a result of this partnership between the Saint John Police force and the students of Saint John High a committee will be set up to receive anonymous complaints from the students and take action to correct these complaints. The complaints can deal with issues both inside and outside of the school. For example it could be a complaint about theft within the school or uptown merchants harassing students. The connection with the community police allows the students direct access for dealing with these complaints. Within the sessions the officer will discuss the issues of drug dealers hanging around the school, panhandlers in the streets and fighting amongst the uptown schools. “The dealers are there, whether you see them or not” said Cst. Fleming. There are some new precautions being taken in regards to the fighting. Police personnel will now be video taping all fights and students who simply watch could face arrest.

The head of security will have the opportunity to explain why the security guards ask students to move on. A large group of teenagers can be intimidating to anyone trying to get through. The security also believes in treating non-students with the same guidelines to establish equality.

Finally the uptown merchant will talk to the students about how much their business means to the uptown stores. The shop owners depend on students to make up a bulk of their sales.

Next time you head down to Brunswick Square for lunch remember that the shops are happy to have you though as a large group you are intimidating!