Students in midtown Toronto held a large demonstration Thursday afternoon to protest a police initiative that places officers inside schools.

More than 100 students gathered outside Northern Secondary School, located on Mt. Pleasant Avenue near Eglinton Avenue, for a peaceful protest at around 11:30 p.m.

Students held picket signs saying their school is not a jail and not run by a police state.

The School Resource Officer program was introduced to the Toronto District School Board by the police about two years ago. Under the initiative, police officers are assigned to a school in their division to help patrol the hallways and ensure a safe environment.

The goal of the program is not only to enhance security at schools across the city but also to build positive rapport with youth in the community.

But organizers of Thursday's protest say students feel the program is creating more of a rift than a rapport with teens.

The protest was organized after the school's resource officer placed a student under arrest after getting into an altercation with the teen on school property.

The teen could not produce identification proving he was a student at Northern and resisted the officer when he suggested they go to the office to clear up the situation.

The arrest was filmed by several students on their cell phones and later placed on YouTube, an online file-sharing site.

"If you look at the incident that was put on YouTube -- if a teacher was dealing with that then that could have been resolved by detention or a trip to the principle's office," a student organizer told reporters at the scene Thursday. "Instead we now have a situation where Northern is badly represented in the media and to other people. It's just creating problems."

Northern is one of 50 schools across Toronto that have a police officer on duty during operating hours.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said the program was extremely well-received last year which is why they've expanded it.

"Our intent is to give officers a chance to get to know those kids," he said. "We want to build a relationship based on trust and respect. It's not an easy relationship to build which is why we invested so much in this program," said Blair during a phone-in with CTV News during Talk Back Toronto.

He said the program has been met with "some level of resistance.

"There are some people who still have questions about what we're doing there," he said.

Blair said teens are less likely to bring weapons to school and bully their peers if they know there is an offer on school property.

The program will continue to grow and evolve as we learn lessons and get greater acceptance from students involved," he said.

With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman