Toronto police build bridges, one classroom at a time

Students at a Scarborough school got a break from tests, lectures and their teachers when Toronto Police officers came into their classroom recently.

Grade 7 and 8 students at Tecumseh Senior Public School got the opportunity to see the positive side of the police.

Marc Rainford a Toronto police officer and Deputy Superintendent Maurice Mattis used a Black History Month seminar as their gateway to educate students about their potential as the up-and coming generation.

A grade 7 teacher with 14 years of teaching under his belt, Kayhan Mortezavi was glad to see someone other than himself educating the students about themselves and others.

For Mortezavi the police officers had a big impact on how the students view the police in their community.

“It is good the students were able to see the other side of the police. The Toronto police officers that came today were filled with positive energy.

“The kids weren’t listening to a lecture from the police, instead they got to hear what police officers believe they are capable of,” Mortezavi said.

Rainford and Mattis used Black History Month to make the connection between black people’s accomplishments in the past and student’s potential to achieve in the present and the future.

Through book readings, poetry readings and an informal question and answer session the two police officers were able to link past generation with the future.

Deputy Superintendent, Maurice Mattis resides in Jamaica and has been in Toronto assisting the police for 16-months.

For him this is one of best aspects of working in Toronto; bridging the gap between the police and the community is just as important as bridging the gap between the generations.

“I feel knowledge is power. Educating these young minds is essential. They need to know it’s not (police officers) against (the community), we are all on the same side, we all want the same things,” Mattis said.