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

Two-vehicle crash leads to argument in South Surrey

Police investigating after one driver left the scene

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Greedy family’s maid overcomes them all in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest play

‘The Late Christopher Bean’ is staged at Clayton-area theatre for a month starting Jan. 23

Final Four set at Surrey RCMP Classic, where a new champ will be crowned

Guildford Park beats Semiahmoo, ending Totems’ three-year championship run

City of Surrey spends $1.2M on winter maintenance – so far

Total budget of $3.7M; 7,000 tonnes of salt used

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

Most Read

l -->