If you live in Brampton, you’ve likely heard about – or even seen – the violent parking lot brawls that have happened in the plaza near Sheridan College in recent months.
It’s true that the plaza at McLaughlin Road and Steeles Avenue across the street from Sheridan College has seen its fair share of brawls. In December 2017, a fight broke out in the parking lot, and several people and wooden weapons were involved. And most recently, a reader reached out to inbrampton.com with a video of yet another brawl in the same plaza near Sheridan College.
The unpopular opinion amongst some residents since brawls have broken out near Sheridan College has been that some of the aggressors were students at Sheridan College.
With the community’s concern surrounding these violent incidents, the major college has released a statement to address the brawls.
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“Analysis shows that in the vast majority of these incidents, no Sheridan students were involved,” reads the statement.
“With mounting concern in the community and a rise in attention on social media concerning violent incidents occurring in plazas in Brampton, Sheridan is speaking out in response to the wrongful and harmful perception that international students are instigating these senseless acts.”
Sheridan College did speak up about the issue last year with a similar statement, saying none of its students were involved in the stick brawl.
According to the college, it has reported incidents occurring in the commercial plaza and provided assistance with the investigations.
“It is important that we do not wrongfully jump to conclusions and associate these acts of violence with any students, whether they are international or domestic, post-secondary or otherwise,” said Dr. Mary Preece, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan, in the statement.
“To do so is extremely damaging for students, for post-secondary institutions and for the perception of immigration in general.”
Recently, Brampton MPs Ruby Sahota, Sonia Sidhu, and Kamal Khera took this issue to the Peel Police Services Board, requesting more police presence near Sheridan College and Shoppers World to prevent these fights and catch the perpetrators on the spot.
“We understand that the perception in the community is that international students are the main instigators of these incidents,” reads a joint statement from Brampton’s MPs.
“We have asked the Peel Regional Police to investigate and update us on their findings.”
According to Sheridan College, it’s an “erroneous assumption and allegation” that international students are causing the fights is a
“These accusations are deeply concerning and run directly counter to our values as Canadians,” said Preece.
“International students contribute a great deal to Sheridan and to our community. They provide opportunities for all our students to develop inter-cultural competencies and learn in ways that prepare them to contribute to the global economy.”
Mayor Linda Jeffrey, Peel Regional Police, and the college have created a forum called “Town and Gown” to “develop meaningful initiatives that will be beneficial to everyone in the community, such as working with the City to address bylaws on student housing,” according to Sheridan College.
“Sheridan has an extensive program of orientation for domestic and international students. In the case of international students, the process begins before students leave their home country,” reads the statement.
“Sheridan is continuously looking for ways to improve the integration of international students into the community.”
“We also look forward to working with stakeholders in our community and all levels of government to discuss how we can counter the negative and harmful misperception of immigration currently being perpetuated on social media.”
If you witness a violent youth brawl, you can contact police at 911.
“Should you be concerned about being seen by the suspects, officers can meet you at another location,” reads the release.
You can report an incident or any information directly to 22 Division Criminal Investigators Bureau at 905-453-2121 ext. 2233. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca.
You can learn more about what’s being done about these troubling brawls in Brampton here.
Have you witnessed a brawl in Brampton?