The Lord Roberts PAC voted in our General Meeting in February 2020 to send a letter to the VSB to asking understand their concrete actions regarding racism. Below is a copy of the letter sent by PAC Chair Ian Rowe to VSB.
Dear Suzanne Hoffman and Janet Fraser,
(Lord Roberts PAC Exec by CC)
In December 2019 the Lord Roberts Elementary School PAC executive received an email from a parent detailing their concerns about King George high school's new principal who was set to begin work in January 2020. The principal had previously worked at Lord Byng high school where, in November 2018, there was a serious incident of racism that resulted in a police investigation and a complaint filed at BC's Human Rights Commission.
Many parents at Lord Roberts had been aware of the racist incident at Lord Byng, and they also voiced their concerns to the PAC executive about the role that the principal played in the incident. Parents were upset by the reports that students at Lord Byng had previously dressed up as the KKK, and a child's locker had been defaced with the N-word. Particularly worrisome for Lord Roberts' PAC were concerns about sending their grade 6 and 7 students to King George after hearing about the negative impact on students who no longer felt safe at school and suffered trauma from the event.
Other parents wrote to Ms. Hoffman about their concerns and were told that the incident at "Lord Byng Secondary was one in which we collectively as educators and as an education system have committed to learning from as we move forward in ensuring all schools are places of learning that are safe, supportive and inclusive for everyone." Ms. Hoffman further stated that "the District has confidence in [the King George principal] and his commitment to ensuring all students and families are safe and welcome at King George Secondary."
This information was shared with Lord Roberts PAC at their February general meeting, and the decision was made to make further inquiries with the VSB about how these learnings will be translated to concrete actions. The Lord Roberts PAC is seeking to understand how VSB will identify and eliminate racism, bring tangible and positive outcomes across the VSB as a whole, and more specifically by District administrators. Understanding VSB's expectations around anti-discrimination and anti-racism training and processes will help the PAC feel confident that all students in the West End community of schools will be safe and welcome.
The Lord Roberts PAC welcomes the opportunity to meet with VSB staff and Trustees to discuss this at their general meeting in April or May.
We look forward to hearing back from you.
Chair, Lord Roberts PAC