VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A human rights complaint has been launched against the Vancouver School Board after a student was filmed going on a racist rant targeting black students.
The complaint is being made by the BC Community Alliance, which calls the VSB’s response to the video “inadequate.”
The video was made last November by a male student at Lord Byng Secondary school. In it, he apparently uses racist and offensive language, and says he wants to “blow up” black people.
The BC Community Alliance has filed the complaint, and says while the VSB had said it would “address the seriousness of the matter,” it determined the student did not pose a safety threat.
Two weeks ago, the BC Community Alliance issued a statement saying it planned to file with the BC Human Rights Tribunal was because the VSB failed to adequately address concerns.
“It is clear that from the lack of progress seen in the last 11 months, with little to no acknowledgement of mishandling of the incident, no proposals of policy change and no specific commitments or timelines, we have little confidence that we will see more than we have, to date, regarding improvements to dealing with racism and safety in Vancouver’s schools,” the statement reads.
In preparation of the complaint, the group circulated a survey for black students to share their experience if they have been a target to racist comments at school.
“No more 3-day suspensions for a racist bomb threat. No more minimizing racism and safety issues. The effects are more damaging than they want to believe and the statistics are showing this,” the group says.
While they are asking for stories from black students, they say the outcome will help everyone.
The BCCA is calling for the VSB to ensure there is a higher stranded to address racism in schools and to set better policies for any acts targeting minority groups.
In a statement, Associate Superintendent Rob Schindel said the Vancouver School District has worked with the school community to provide anti-racism education to students.
“Our schools welcome all students, regardless of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation and diverse needs. We are committed to fostering safe and caring schools that promote mutual respect and safe, inclusive, equitable, and welcoming school environments.”
He said the District has met with the BCCA and members of the black community in order to hear their concerns and discuss how to improve its response to serious incidents.
-With files from Lisa Steacy