Vancouver School Board approves anti-racism plan


 

The Vancouver School Board (VSB)  approved a plan at its meeting on Monday night to deal with racism and discrimination following criticisms of how school officials handled a student’s racist rant in a video circulated on social media.

The video was made by a boy who was at the time a student at Lord Byng Secondary School. He spoke about hating black people, and said he wanted to physically harm them.

This led to some parents withdrawing their children from the school.

The VSB has now agreed to hire a field expert to establisb a “structured response” to student conduct, including acts of hate.

The Board also plans to deal with incidents through restorative justice, accountability and restitution.

Should a racist incident occur, administrators and staff are instructed to communicate clearly with the perpetrator, their caregivers, affected students and the school community.

The  VSB plan will list one-year, three-year, and five-year actions that the district will take to address racism and discrimination in Vancouver schools.

Parents have been urging VSB officials to take action ever since the student’s racist rant was posted on social media in November last year.

Ruth Baboth whose daughter left Lord Byng Secondary School after being subjected to  racist bullying, was at the Board meeting on Monday night and welcomed the new plan.

“I just want to see a policy that people will act on instead of us pushing it. They will know next time what exactly they have to do instead of giving us the runaround,” she said.

The plan was approved by the VSB about two weeks after parents had complained at a meeting about the district’s failure to act quickly in response to incidents of racism and hate.

VSB chair Janet Fraser said the delay in establishing policy was due to necessary consultation with staff, parents and students.

“We realized that was a gap and we moved quickly to address that but having to work through our engagement with our committees, it took a while for that to actually come to the Board for approval,” Fraser said

The British Columbia Community Alliance had announced last month that it was pushing forward with a class-action complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal over how the incident involving the video rant was handled by the VSB.