VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Parents had a lot of concerns to voice at a meeting with the Vancouver School Board over a racist video that was made by a Lord Byng Secondary student last year.
Parents came in with a petition with 800 signatures along with them — demanding stronger policies for tackling intolerance. The meeting went over an hour longer than scheduled.
Sitting around a round table parents talked a lack of clarity around the video targeting a black student last year and the student who made it.
Suzanne Daley, a mother of a student affected says the incident was incredibly mishandled. She says it should have been dealt with in a day if the principal and school administration took the appropriate measures.
“We’re the two families affected. They talk a lot about restorative action in the letters that I’ve received, but both our kids have just left. It has failed both our kids,” she says, adding it took 10 months of letter writing and emails to get the meeting started.
“If another youth seeing that this person got to make a death threat video and come back to the same community then that tells the 20 friends that it’s okay, you can do this, you can make a death threat video. That’s not okay,” she says.
Both students who were targeted in the video have no plans to return to the school.
Rita Baboth says her daughter was seriously impacted by the situation.
“We feel like no one listened to us. No one took it as a hate crime, they wanted to call it just a mistake. It’s not, it’s a hate crime,” she says.
Marie Tate with the BC Community Alliance says they need to be serious about having “zero tolerance.”
“Right now it’s very vague, and it doesn’t seem to do much. Because if someone can post a bomb-threat against a whole race of people on social media and come back to the same school that students who feel threatened are still at, that’s not a zero-tolerance policy,” she says.
The School District says they are looking to put measures in place to make students and staff feel safe moving forward and will look to see how they will address racism moving forward, but will not say exactly what steps will be taken.
The District would not comment on the status of the student behind the racist video.