Parents want more action after racist video posted by Vancouver high school student

Gathering taking place at Lord Byng Secondary School on Sept. 3

Parents and students at a Vancouver high school are looking for answers after hearing a student who made a racist and threatening video could be back this year.

“A racist threat was uttered online by a white student at Lord Byng Secondary School in a video posted to Facebook,” according to the BC Community Alliance, a group formed as a result of the November 2018 incident.

Marie Tate of the BC Community Alliance tsaid he student who made the video was initially suspended, then expelled and transferred to another school.

Now, she said school board officials have told at least one parent the teen will be back at Lord Byng this fall.

The organization is circulating a letter online, signed by more than 700 people as of Tuesday afternoon, targeting the “lack of action” from the school board and police department and calling for the incident to be handled “with the level of concern that is warranted.”

Tate said parents, as well as the black community in Vancouver, just want to know what’s being done.

“I take the subject matter here very seriously,” principal Geoffrey Taylor said before deferring comment to the school board.

In an email, the board it had launched an investigation, assessed the risks, and taken “appropriate disciplinary and restorative action.” The email did not provide specifics, nor did it confirm or deny whether the student was returning.

Students who were affected by the video were offered counselling, the board added, and a committee of students and staff was created to foster diversity and inclusion.

B.C.’s education ministry told Black Press Media racism is unacceptable and all school districts have codes of conduct in place that match B.C.’s Human Rights Code.

But Tate said the families feel like they have not been adequately protected or informed.

“Students and families are telling me they are not getting the support, they do not feel safe,” Tate said. She said at least two students have left Lord Byng since the incident.

“How do you trust that these measures have been taken?”

Tate said the families, who are wary of speaking out due to harassment concerns, want to make others aware of policies that “seem to be there in words and not action,” and make sure that students are reminded about rules on racism and hate speech.

The BC Community Alliance was scheduled to host a gathering at Lord Byng Secondary at 7 p.m. Tuesday to further discuss the response to the incident.

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