Advertisement

Report following recent racist incidents at Lester B. Pearson School Board considered first step

Click to play video: 'Report following recent racist incidents at Lester B. Pearson School Board considered first step' Report following recent racist incidents at Lester B. Pearson School Board considered first step
WATCH: A report on the state of discrimination and inclusion among institutions at the Lester B. Pearson School Board has just been released. The work stems from a number of racist incidents starting last summer, which involved students attending LBPSB schools. As Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, the report's authors say the document is just the first step in very long road. – Jun 29, 2021

A report on the state of discrimination and inclusion at one of Quebec’s largest school boards has just been released.

The review stems from a number of racist incidents in summer 2020 which involved students within the Lester B. Pearson School Board, including a video which circulated on social media in which two students who attended a school in Pointe Claire danced in blackface.

“Several racist incidents that occurred last year in the Lester B. Pearson school board community served as a wakeup call for us,” board chairman Noel Burke, admitted.

Read more: Racist video sparks condemnation, questions about racism in Montreal’s West Island

In response to the incidents, the school board asked McGill University psychologist Dr. Myrna Lashley to establish a group to look into issues of discrimination within the schools.

Story continues below advertisement

Now, almost a year later, the Task Force on Equity and Diversity and Inclusion, made up of school administrators, parents and members of the community, issued a report.

“It is an invitation to look at ourselves in the mirror,” Burke pointed out during an online press conference to present the report.

The hundred-plus page document looks at the state of various forms of discrimination within the schools.  It includes first person accounts from students and parents of their experiences with things like racial, ethnic, religious and gender biases.

Lashley said she wasn’t expecting the number of stories submitted to the group.

“I was really surprised at that and the letters coming in and how honest they were,” said Lashley.

Read more: Students at St. Thomas High School outraged after incident involving Black lecturer

She believes one reason there were so many testimonies is that people from marginalized groups were given the opportunity to share what’s been happening to them.

“I think they were grateful that somebody was finally saying, ‘look, we want to hear what you have to say.’ ”

The report also makes numerous recommendations for each category of discrimination.  One common to all is for education for teachers about diversity and inclusiveness.

Story continues below advertisement

Omari Newton, who gives lectures on Black history, agrees.

In March, during his presentation to one of the schools on the origins of the N-word, a white teacher verbally attacked him.

Newton believes even basic training is needed, “[to teach] what systemic racism is, what inherent bias is, what unconscious bias is, so they can even be aware of the entry level terminology of what constitutes racism or discrimination,” he pointed out.

The school board says the next step is to put together a working group to study the report and to implement the recommendations.

Click to play video: 'Teaching Montreal teens about racism' Teaching Montreal teens about racism
Teaching Montreal teens about racism – Mar 24, 2021

Sponsored content