Lord Byng Secondary School. (Google Maps)

Human rights complaint filed against Vancouver School Board for handling of racist video

Critics say the school has only engaged in ‘damage control’

A human rights complaint has been filed against the Vancouver School Board for its handling of a racist video in which a student made a bomb threat against black students.

Marie Tate of the BC Community Alliance said the group filed the complaint this week after nearly a year of what it calls inadequate action by the school board in response to a video uploaded by a Lord Byng Secondary Student.

The video was uploaded to Facebook in November 2018, and showed a white student using racial slurs and issuing a bomb threat.

Tate said the school board initially suspended the student for three days, and only increased it to five weeks about a month later.

The student was also transferred out of the school, but Tate said multiple black students have also left Lord Byng as a result of how officials handled the issue.

In an email, the school board said it could not discuss the students affected because of privacy reasons, but that staff are addressing the issue with a “balance of discipline and restorative steps.”

The board said they’ve “worked with the community” to educate students on anti-racism, provide counselling and “individualized support plans,” and create a committee on diversity and inclusion.

“We are committed to fostering safe and caring schools that promote mutual respect and safe, inclusive, equitable, and welcoming school environments,” an email said.

Tate described much of the response as “damage control.”

Lord Byng held assemblies about discrimination following the video, but Tate said parents of the affected students have told her the school has done little to support them directly.

“This was a bomb threat. It’s big deal and it wasn’t handled as such.”

Tate believed that after the school district’s response to the video, as well as prior incidents like alleged racist graffiti, filing a human rights complaint was the group’s only option.

She said the alliance wants to bring the focus onto the affected students, and away from the one who made the threat.

“We don’t want to be people that are complaining. We want to help the Vancouver School Board have better policies so the next time something like this happens, they are prepared,” she said.

The school board said it has not yet received formal notification of the complaint.

READ MORE: Parents want more action after racist video posted by Vancouver high school student

READ MORE: ‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after student’s racist video


@katslepian

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