Eve Flynn, chair of the School District 69 (Qualicum) board, says schools play an essential role in working toward dismantling systemic racism and other forms of discrimination.
She said that’s why the district put out a public statement on social justice, which Flynn said both affirms the district’s stance on inclusivity and also states how they will try and look for new ways to educate and act.
“It’s a timely matter, the uprisings and the issues that are in our papers and in our public spaces now are certainly at top of mind,” said Flynn.
Flynn said the board gave notice of motion for the statement in May, and then worked to craft the statement over subsequent board meetings.
The release says the district is actively committed to social justice and that they support the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry. It goes on to say that they encourage the larger Parksville Qualicum Beach community to educate themselves and examine their own privilege and mentions the movement to defund the police.
“For example, our policing institutions may be better served by a re-allocation of funds that better support people who are in mental ill-health, which could allow for growth within the institution to become true keepers of the peace,” read the release.
Flynn said the recent release gives the district time to reflect over the summer about what action could be taken in the fall to further address racism and other forms of discrimination in the district.
However, Flynn also points towards positive change the district has made already with codes of conduct, their Indigenous enhancement agreement, anti-bullying efforts, their SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) curriculum and more.
“It gave us a chance to think about what we do as a school district, what we do in education,” she said. “This was just, OK let’s regroup and reaffirm some of the things we’re doing and maybe we need to be doing more, so to then have a look in September at what that might look like.”