Staff at the Okanagan-Skaha School District and Summerland School are working to move forward after a racial slur was posted on a sign at the high school.
“Our students have been upset by this incident,” said Todd Manual, superintendent of schools.
Overnight on Sept. 9 to 10, the letters on a sign at the high school were changed to include an anti-Black racial slur underneath the welcome message. The slur was discovered on the morning of Sept. 10 and the word was quickly removed.
Later, on Sept. 14, a youth voluntarily stopped at the Summerland RCMP detachment to take responsibility for the slur.
He said the school board has been working to create a welcoming atmosphere at all schools within the district. In addition, the school district is working on diversity and anti-racism education.
South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services has worked with the school district to bring anti-racism information at the middle school level.
In addition, the school will be bringing anti-racism speakers to talk to secondary school students within the school district.
Manual said it is important to have healthy conversations about racism moving forward. He added that it is an issue that goes beyond the school.
“Racism is a community issue,” he said.
The slur was the fourth time in a three-month period that an expression of hate has been displayed in Summerland.
Since 2020, a growing number of incidents involving hate have been reported within the community. These include the vandalism of the home of an Indo-Canadian family with swastikas and other symbols of hate, the display of a Confederate battle flag at a parade in support of thie family, the vandalism of a Truth and Reconciliation mural in 2022 and incidents of racist graffiti in late spring and summer of 2023.
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