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West Vancouver private school students, staff accused of racist behaviour

Last Updated Jul 29, 2020 at 10:54 pm PDT


Students and staff at West Vancouver's Collingwood School are being accused of racist behaviour

Some students are sharing their experiences on an Instagram account

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Serious allegations of apparent racist behaviour among students and staff at West Vancouver’s Collingwood School are being exposed.

Dozens of students have come forward to share their experience at the private school.

One student’s post, which appears to have been deleted but was shared by many on social media, details how some of her peers would use derogatory and offensive words at and around her, as well as mock her for the way she looked.

“Writing this is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” the post quoting the student reads.

“I would cry at night,” she wrote, saying others would make fun of her, and that teachers and counsellor weren’t any help, some even perpetuating systemic racism themselves.

The student’s story echoes the dozens of others posted to an Instagram page under the account “collingwooduntold” where students talk about being treated differently because of their race or sexual orientation.

“They make fun of things from my eyes to saying ‘Asian invasion’ as if it’s a joke,” one anonymous post reads. “I’ve had non-Asian students tell me that I’m overreacting, or that they’re just joking, as if it doesn’t hurt that my identity is being mocked.”

Another post says, “there is a group of boys in the grad class of 2021 that regularly call (sic) other students gay, faggots, and all say the n-word.” It claims this has happened in front of teachers, who the post claims only told the boys to “watch what they say” and let them off without punishment.

Some posts even talk about a white student emailing racial slurs to a former headmaster of the school, who is Black, in 2017. That student was not expelled, the posts claim.

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In response to a Facebook review for Collingwood School which reads “Deep racism issues. Unsupportive guidance counsellors who lack compassion,” the private school says it’s “deeply troubled by this student’s experience and we appreciate that she brought her lived experience to our attention.”

Deep racism issues. Unsupportive guidance counsellors who lack compassion.

Posted by Rachael Alexandre on Sunday, July 26, 2020

Collingwood says it’s not immune to racism and admits “there is work to be done” to ensure people who go and work there feel “valued and respected.”

It explains the school “engaged external diversity consultants a year ago” to deepen its understanding of the issue of systemic racism.

“Our plan is to use that learning and the experiences of our students and the broader community to further inform this work and to set about making changes to curriculum, to curricular and co-curricular programs and to continuing education for faculty, students and families,” the school says.

Collingwood School statement on racism