Why is an Anti-racism Policy needed?
Both internationally and nationally, there exists a history of racism embedded in institutions, personal stories, and personal experiences. While this history is long arching, we do not need to accept this as we take steps forward collectively. We need to actively work towards dismantling systemic racism and all types of racism that continue to permeate our society.
In full support of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Actions, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, Missing Murdered Indigneous Women and Girls Calls to Justice, and the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, an SD8 Anti-Racism Policy will ensure a continued structure to address these wrongs.
The Board of Education has undertakend a comprehensive public engagement process to develop an anti-racism policy. The Board of Education is committed to creating meaningful and inclusive engagement opportunities and hopes to hear directly from students, parents, staff and the community with regards to the development of the SD8 Anti-racism Policy.
Public Engagement Process
Supporting the Board in ensuring that all education partners are included in the development of the Anti-racism policy, the Anti-racism team worked with SD8 students in December 2021 to participate in a 2.5 day workshop, where a Students Tending the Fire toolbox was created.
The Students Tending the Fire toolbox is intended to educate, inform and personalize the topic of anti-racism for SD8 learning communities. For example, the toolbox contains activities, insights and recommendations from BIPOC students (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour).
The toolbox has been shared with school principals, staff, PAC and trustees. In addition, the SD8 Kootenay Lake Anti-racism Advisory Council will soon begin a series of meetings guiding a formal process for the draft development of an Anti-racism Policy for the Board.
An online survey was posted on the district website until the end of February 2022, inviting students, parents, staff and the community to share their voice. The Anti-racism Advisory Council has now collated all input and drafted a collaborative policy to submit to the Board of Education in April 2022.
SD8’s Board Policy 580: Respectful Workplace states that violence, hatred and discrimination on the basis of racial identity have no place in the school district. Anti-racism is the practice of identifying, challenging, preventing, eliminating and changing the values, structures, policies, programs, practices and behaviours that perpetuate racism.
The Ministry of Education is similarly developing anti-racism materials and is working with teachers and community partners to create an inventory of K-12 anti-racism and diverse cultural experiences, learning and teaching resources with a particular focus on the B.C. context. This is complementary to B.C.’s K-12 provincial curriculum, which directly supports students in their growth. The personal and social core competencies include the awareness, understanding and appreciation of connections among people and encourages the study of topics related to diversity and inclusion through the investigation of local contexts and student interests.
As school districts lead the development of Educated Citizens, we need to ensure that this education aligns with holistic values of citizenship K-12. The responsibility to be part of a positive change is a commitment to seeing the world as a safe, respectful, and inclusive world where everyone belongs.
SD8 is committed to engaging in personal and professional learning about anti-racism and thereby providing access to information for students and staff. Information on anti-racism to support staff and students can be found on the SD8 Anti-racism website. Visit site The resources are designed to support the Strategic Plan goals of learning, engagements and strengthening relationships and are organized in the following areas:
- Know - increase understanding of systemic racism
- Learn - by provide resources for deepening our understanding about racism
- Connect - students and staff to learning opportunities and local facilitators
- Act - through offering ideas to be part of the anti-racism solution
Additional resource links:
- United Nations Rights of the Child
- United Nations Rights of Indigenous People
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action