Education minister: Recent racist acts could be 'teachable moment' for B.C. students
Thousands of people gather for a peaceful demonstration in support of George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and protest against racism, injustice and police brutality in Vancouver, B.C. on May 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VANCOUVER -- The education minister says B.C. is looking for ways to turn recent headlines about racism into "teachable moments" for students in the province.
Speaking at a news conference about what was for many the first day back at school in months, Rob Fleming said his ministry plans to explore ways to turn current events into lessons.
He was asked whether the province would consider adding more black history to B.C.'s curriculum.
Fleming told reporters he'd drafted a letter that morning to the B.C. Black History Awareness Society about curriculum material, including what is already available, and what is currently taught in schools.
The society's mandate includes creating awareness of black history in BC., as well as researching, documenting and disseminating information to the public.
Fleming said B.C. schools mark Black History Month every February, and there have been calls in the past for further learning opportunities.
Given the recent rise in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the massive protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Fleming said his ministry is looking at options for education.
"A lot of kids are coming back to school and they're interested in resuming learning of various subjects, but a lot of them are really interested in current events, including what we're seeing in the United States right now, and the demonstrations in solidarity we've seen in Canada," Fleming said during the question-and-answer portion of his news conference, held at a school in Oak Bay.
Anger over Floyd's death in police custody, and a string of previous incidents in which unarmed black people were killed by law enforcement, has been mounting in the U.S. and internationally. Over the weekend, thousands gathered in downtown Vancouver to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
Fleming said his ministry will look for ways "to make this, if you will, a teachable moment. We can strengthen the curriculum ties to learn about the multicultural history and including the history of the black community in British Columbia."
With files from The Canadian Press