BC Community Alliance member Marie Tate speaks to media after a meeting with the Vancouver School Board Monday, Sept. 16 at Lord Byng Secondary School in Vancouver. (Marie Tate Facebook photo)

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

Parents at a Vancouver high school concerned about a racist video met with school board representatives Monday, bringing a petition backed by hundreds of people.

The meeting was requested by the BC Community Alliance, a parent group formed after a white teen at Lord Byng Secondary School made a racist video targeting black people and posted it to Facebook in November 2018.

Marie Tate, a member of of the alliance, said they called the meeting because they were concerned the school was not keeping them informed since the video circulated 10 months ago.

Their petition — signed by 815 people at press time — targeted a “lack of action” from the school board and Vancouver Police Department, and called for the incident to be handled “with the level of concern that is warranted.”

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

Tate said representatives from the police department, city, provincial government and human rights commission also attended, and heard impact statements from parents.

Two of those parents were Suzanne Daley and Rita Baboth, whose daughters have both left Lord Byng since the racist video appeared. Baboth’s daughter is the one who reported the video to administrators.

The first parent who came forward said she felt unsupported by the school board.

“She has felt largely ignored and even seen as a problem because she keeps asking for answers and support,” Tate said.

“Her child brought this to the attention of the school and still had other acts of racism enacted toward her … She feels the school did not act properly at all and it put her and her family in a lot of inconvenience, and in a very stressful situation.”

A student also provided an impact statement at the meeting, and Tate said “there were some tears, and not even just from the parents.”

“It was pretty upsetting.”

READ MORE: Victoria-based band shares experience with racism outside Lucky Bar

A representative of the school board said Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman was at the meeting “to listen and learn.”

“When situations arise that contravene the district code of conduct, a balance of appropriate disciplinary and restorative actions are taken. Racism is not tolerated,” the representative said.

But Tate said parents were disappointed with the outcome of the meeting.

“We still did not get answers,” she said.

“We have asked them to put these families’ minds at ease and draw the line: What is your zero tolerance policy? That is our biggest question.”

Tate said school board officials sent a letter saying the student who made the video would be back at Lord Byng this fall.

Then, after the petition, “apparently the school board told the offending student that it would be best not to return,” she added.

“We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet.”

No details about the student and his enrolment were shared by board staff due to privacy obligations.

That the board ever considered allowing the student who made the video to return was enough for parents to question their interpretation and implementation of zero tolerance.

“They should not be allowed back to that school. Period. They should be expelled,” Tate said.

The alliance is now advocating for education and workshops for school staff, including training around conscious and unconscious bias, as well as updates on action being taken by the board, such as victim-centred restorative justice, in the next 30, 60 and 90 days.

“When they are taking months and months to get back to people or take action … these families are dealing with anxiety and other issues,” Tate said.

READ MORE: $3.5M boost for multicultural, anti-racism initiatives in B.C.

In an earlier email to Black Press Media, the board said it had launched an investigation after the video was discovered, assessed the risks, and took “appropriate disciplinary and restorative action.”

Students who were affected by the video were offered counselling, the board added, and a committee of students and staff was created to foster diversity and inclusion.

B.C.’s education ministry earlier told Black Press Media racism is unacceptable and all school districts have codes of conduct in place that match B.C.’s Human Rights Code.

READ MORE: Viral video of B.C. woman’s rant makes it hard to deny racism, advocate says



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Body discovered in aftermath of Hope apartment fire

RCMP can’t confirm cause of death yet, but have ruled out foul play

Author talk will discuss potlatch history, education in Agassiz

Davidson’s history and education come together for informative presentation

WATCH: A sunny day through the District of Kent

A look at just a bit of the District’s natural beauty.

Village of Harrison seeks community plan feedback

Survey will update a 13-year-old community planning guide

Agassiz-Harrison Museum hosts CP Rail presentation

Event covers local railroad development in the 1800’s

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Langley teen who died of apparent drug overdose to receive a hockey-themed memorial

Police report on Carson Crimeni case now in the hands of Crown counsel

Most Read