Number of racism incidents on the rise in Halifax-area schools: report
Published Thursday, January 11, 2018 8:43PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, January 11, 2018 10:44PM AST
A report by the Halifax Regional School Board shows an increase in the number of racist and discriminatory behaviour incidents.
According to the report, 170 discriminatory instances were reported in the 2016/17 school year, compared with 152 the year before. And 190 reports of racist behaviour is up from 175.
The behaviour is across all grade levels, with 184 instances at elementary schools and 176 at secondary.
Gin Yee, chair of the Halifax Regional School Board, says he’s not surprised, but he is concerned.
“I'm also confident that our staff, our students are trying to address the concerns,” says Yee. “I'm glad that our value system is that we recognize it's something wrong, and we should try to correct it.”
This is the first year that the school board has requested the information. The bumps could be because the board has worked with teachers on better reporting and tracking.
“We teach our administration and teachers that you need to report on incidences more correctly, so the consequence is that more gets reported,” says Yee.
The report doesn't break down the nature of the remarks, but it was all between students.
Education Minister Zach Churchill is also expressing concern.
“We are going to need more time to understand the numbers. We have a base of 2015, and only one year of comparison,” Churchill says.
But parents hope schools address the issues of racism and discrimination with affected students right away.
"I think I would be pretty disappointed,” says parent Jodi Fredericks. “I would want the school to address it and maybe have the right kind of people to educate or maybe mediate.”
The school board is still looking at their next steps. They may start by making this an annual report.
Churchill also said he may look at rates of racist and discriminatory behaviour in other school districts to see how the HRSB compares.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.