Punjabi Community - ProAction Cops Build Trust With International Languages Students
One of the objectives of ‘The International Language’ program is to enable students to become familiar with the experiences and cultural contributions of the people whose language they are studying, both in Canada and in the country of origin, through a study of the language, community’s traditions, customs, social structures, history, geography and arts.
According to the head instructor of the Punjabi IL program, Ajit Chaggar, there is a great fear and mistrust of law enforcement in India. The new immigrants instil this fear of police in their children. When he heard that one of his student’s parents was police officer, Constable Jagdeed Dhaliwal, did a presentation for his co-workers at the east-end station’s D Squad on this cultural problem he asked if he would come and do a presentation for the students.
They enlisted the assistance of ten police officers from the east-end station's D Squad. Staff-Sergeant Dave Hennick organized the event to help the students understand that policing in Canada is a trusted profession. They spent the morning teaching about safety and playing badminton with three dozen children from a Punjabi International language class. The event was organized under the umbrella of a program called ProAction Cops and Kids, a 22-year-old initiative designed to clear away the suspicion that keeps Canadian police and immigrant communities apart.
The program took place at Our Lady of Peace Elementary School in Stoney Creek and involved safety lessons, learning badminton rules, badminton competition between the police and students. In addition to the games, the children taking part received a T-shirt to commemorate the event, a pizza lunch, some Hamilton Police Service swag, a chance to sit on the inside of a patrol wagon, a participation medal, their own badminton racquet and birdie, plus more racquets and birdies were donated to the school.