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Racist video prompts Vancouver School Board to draft anti-discrimination policy
VANCOUVER -- Angry and emotional parents shared stories of frustration with members of the Vancouver School Board Wednesday night over the way a hate-filled racist video made by a student was handled.
In the video, which made the rounds on social media in November 2018, a boy who was then a student at Lord Byng Secondary ranted about how he hates black people and wants to physically harm them.
"His word was the N word which he used multiple times. He said they were stupid and stinky as F," said BC Community Alliance’s Marie Tate, who watched the video. "He said he wanted to line them all up and throw an explosive in there and go kaboom."
For some parents of students of colour, the way the school and district dealt with the situation was almost as shocking as the video.
"We were in the school explaining to them that this is racism. This is a hate crime," said Rita Baboth, whose daughter attended Lord Byng at the time. "But it was not accepted. And we were told that it's not even directed to us."
Janet Fraser chairperson of the school board was at the meeting and says hearing from those impacted is a reminder of how much work still needs to be done.
"So we can have a stronger framework around that and address the resources available to our teachers and the programs available to our teachers to make a more structured framework to ensure student safety," Fraser said.
Citing privacy policies, the district won’t comment on the discipline handed out, but outraged parents told CTV News it was initially just a three-day suspension.
They say backlash from parents and students led to a much longer suspension and the boy eventually enrolled in a different school.
In the meantime, at least two other students transferred out of the school because of the trauma the situation caused.
"We feel like it's not for us. They're not serving us. They didn't really acknowledge my daughter's safety," said Baboth, whose daughter chose to leave the school. "And any time she got up in the morning she always cried and told me that she feels like she's going to war."
Now, the board is in the process of drafting a new policy on non-discrimination and the elimination of racism.
"The district procedures were followed in response to the incident at Lord Byng. When incidents occur that contravene the district's code of conduct, a balance of disciplinary and restorative measures are put in place," said the VSB in a statement.
Fraser says they hope to implement the changes in the new year.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Luisa Alvarez