Parent from Vancouver private school says students shared anti-Semitic posts online
Published Friday, October 18, 2019 9:20AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, October 18, 2019 7:41PM PDT
VANCOUVER – A number of students from one of the most expensive private schools in Canada have been suspended or expelled for their role in what administrators are describing as "deeply offensive behaviour."
In a statement, St. George's School said the behaviour in question took place both online and at the exclusive school on Vancouver's west side.
“We immediately launched an investigation which included contacting our (Vancouver police) school liaison officer," says the statement. "We have found no safety risk to the school community."
St. George's also said its liaison officer determined the incident was "not a criminal matter," though the Vancouver Police Department told CTV News investigators haven't drawn any conclusions yet.
"We have by no means concluded our investigation," Const. Steve Addison said. "We have not drawn any conclusions."
Citing confidentiality and privacy concerns, the school will not provide any further information on what took place — but according to the BC Ministry of Education, it involves racism.
CTV News Vancouver has spoken to a parent familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified.
They said a student at the school found anti-Semitic posts online celebrating the Holocaust and reported them to school staff.
According to the parent, other objectionable behaviour involved the Nazi salute being used on campus.
The parent questioned why only some students involved were expelled while others were merely suspended, and would like to see the school offer more education on diversity and the history of discrimination and racism towards Jewish people.
The incident also caught the attention of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which reached out to the school on Friday.
"We are deeply concerned by reports of anti-Semitic incidents involving students attending an independent school in Vancouver. We are following this issue closely," the organization said on Twitter.
The Ministry of Education said it was made aware of the school's investigation and plans to conduct an inspection of St. George's next month to make sure its policies and operations meet the standards of the Independent School Act.
"B.C.'s schools are places of learning – racism is unacceptable and not tolerated," the ministry said in a statement. "Any report of racist behaviour is very concerning. As soon as the ministry became aware of this incident it immediately contacted the school."
St. George’s has more than 1,100 students and some of them live on campus.
Annual tuition for the prestigious school nestled deep on Vancouver’s west side ranges from $23,740 for day students to $71,490 for international students in the boarding program.