Letter from the Chair of the Board of Education: Anti-Racism

Dear School District 8 – Kootenay Lake Community,

Yes, it has been a challenging year.  The Board, in turn, thanks all the amazing parents and guardians for making this last year and a half as ‘normal’ as possible in spite of the pandemic. We are looking forward to the fact our children might return to school in September ‘as normal”, whatever our new normal may bring.

Thank you also for acknowledging the anti-racism pro-d day last fall and the resources now available on the SD8 website.

The Board has completed some great work around anti-racism and we would like to point out Policy 580 (https://www.sd8.bc.ca/sites/default/files/580%20Respectful%20Workplace%20-%20March%209%2C%202021_1.pdf)  and in particular, paragraph eight, which states,

The Board of Education for School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) has “zero tolerance” for any form of racism, violence, discrimination, harassment and bullying on Board premises, while working for the Board or while involved in Board-sponsored programs and/or activities locally, regionally, in BC, in Canada or internationally, or online.

We appreciate your concern about staff and remind you that Human Resources matters are highly confidential and can not be dealt with publicly.

You can rest assured that:

  • All educators, including the out-going and in-coming Superintendents, and Boards of Education, in British Columbia are investing in anti-racism training and will continue doing so in fall 2021 and beyond.
  • The new Superintendent possesses knowledge, skills, values, and experience in anti-racism practice.
  • The Board of Education is prioritizing a district anti-racism policy, alongside a separate policy addressing reconciliation with Indigenous Nations, the TRC calls to action, and UNDRIP.
  • We plan to engage local Indigenous Nations and BPOC (including staff, parents, students, and other community members) in the development of these policies.
  • Our commitment is to have ongoing training and support for teachers and other staff in both policies.
  • Supports for school communities to engage in discussions about racism/anti-racism with experienced facilitators such as the event we sponsored in partnership with Selkirk College last fall will continue. In fact, our professional development day for September 24th, 2021 will feature Former Chief Justice, Murray Sinclair, as the keynote.
  • Human Resources Director, Singh, will be developing a training program on policy 580 (mentioned above) that will be delivered district-wide in the next school year.
  • The Board of Education is also working on developing a separate policy on anti-racism.  This process will be engaged in over the next couple of years and will most certainly engage, and be in collaboration with, members of the wider community.

We expect all children graduating from SD 8 – Kootenay Lake to have full awareness of the structural racism and white privilege that is entrenched in Canadian society.  We are all learners, and this is a learning community. We will continue to do this work together.

School District 8 endeavors to ensure we focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment that is safe for every student, teacher, and staff member; a system where racial justice, conflict resolution, openness, and transparency are prioritized, learned, taught, and modeled by our educators, leaders, and parents. 

This information will be updated daily on our website and other digital media.

 

Sincerely,

Lenora Trenaman

Board Chair

School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake)