A last-minute motion at the School District 69 (Qualicum) school board meeting March 13 saw trustees show their support for a poster campaign addressing racism and white privilege at another B.C. district.
Vice chair Julie Austin made a friendly amendment to the meeting’s agenda at the end of the meeting to briefly talk about School District 74 (Gold Trail)’s poster campaign, which has garnered some opposition, especially from one parent of a Grade 9 student in the district.
Kansas Field Allen, who is white but is married to a member of a First Nation, according to the Canadian Press, told CBC, “I’d say 95 per cent of the people are in favour of having the posters taken down, and that’s from all races.”
The posters, up in all SD74 schools, feature three members of the administration and display quotes including, “I have felt racism. Have you?” from Tammy Mountain, the district’s principal of aboriginal education. Also, “I have unfairly benefitted from the colour of my skin. White privilege is not acceptable,” from Teresa Downs, SD74’s superintendent of schools.
Students at some of the schools have created their own posters, including one that reads, “Got privilege?”
But it’s Downs’ poster that has been the lightning rod for comments, according to an Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal report.
Austin called the effort “a very, very strong campaign about privilege and what it means.”
She acknowledged that the campaign has seen some pushback, and made a motion that the board send a letter in support of the campaign.
The motion was carried in what appeared to be a unanimous vote.