‘Clearly discriminatory and systemically racist’: Report on B.C. schools board

VICTORIA – An independent report has identified systemic racism in a school board in northern British Columbia and is calling for a provincial investigation into the problem.

VICTORIA – An independent report has identified systemic racism in a school board in northern British Columbia and is calling for a provincial investigation into the problem.

Education Secretary Jennifer Whiteside appointed Special Advisers Kory Wilson and Catherine McGregor in February to review governance practices on the Prince George Board of Education.

Their report, based on 56 interviews, found that indigenous students were disproportionately withheld, accepted into alternative programs or classes, and removed from the typical graduation path.

It states that there is a marked and palpable lack of trust between many indigenous interest groups, the First Nations and the school district, as well as a “significant culture of fear” to voice concerns.

The report quotes one respondent who said he was told not to use his indigenous names because “this is not the place for politics” and another said that when they go to school their “chest tighter will”.

The Department of Education said in a statement that former School District Superintendent Rod Allen will join the special advisors immediately and work with the board to develop a work plan to implement their recommendations and improve everything from relationships with local First Nations Personnel and financial planning.

The special advisers will present a final report in March 2022, outlining the Board’s progress in meeting government expectations.

“Unfortunately, we have heard many examples of behaviors and practices that are clearly discriminatory and systemically racist,” the report said.

“While some will argue that it is not intended, the results have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous students and can only be explained as such.”

The special advisors also raised concerns about how federal COVID-19 funds were being spent on the board.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 28, 2021.

The Canadian press

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