An undisclosed number of students were suspended from Princeton Secondary School (PSS) last week following a racially-motivated incident on social media.
“My understanding is there was racism and threatening language that was posted to a social media site,” said Gordon Swan, chair of the Nicola-Similkameen School District board. “We then investigated it, through the school, and set up some consequences for the youth involved.”
The district did not report the incident to RCMP, which targeted an individual.
“The parents had agreed that that wasn’t necessary and the school didn’t (think it was necessary),” he explained.
“The school has handled it appropriately. The parents are all happy with the outcome and with the consequences.”
Swan said that discussion included “the parents of the child who was in the picture.”
There are approximately 165 students at PSS and Swan did not give specifics of the post.
In addition to suspensions, students are being provided with “an educational component around hate speech and hate literature,” he said.
“I would say it’s kids who aren’t thinking fully of the consequences of what they are doing.”
The parents of the children who posted the material were “very upset” by what happened, he added.
The post was brought to the school’s attention by someone who noticed it on the site.
Incidents like this are relatively rare, said Swan.
“It’s not that often. We know it occurs across the province from time to time,” Swan said.
The district adopted a discrimination policy in 1998 and it was revised in 2016.
It directs, in part, that:
• Schools develop student Codes of Conduct with one or more statements that address the prohibited grounds of discrimination as set out in the B.C. Human Rights Code.
• Schools provide examples of and teach appropriate expectations and behaviours in order to prevent discrimination.
• Schools create support systems for individuals or groups being discriminated against or harassed.
• Schools encourage and support activities promoting respect for human rights and the celebration of diversity.
Swan stated: “We want to make sure our schools are inclusive and safe for all students.”
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