Empowering students and educators to identify and take action against racism and discrimination in British Columbia schools is the aim of a new provincial K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan launched on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.
“We know that Indigenous, Black and people of colour may face inequity within the education system,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care. “This action plan is a critical step forward for students, educators, staff and families as we all work to create school communities that feel welcoming and supportive for people of all backgrounds.”
The action plan will create change in B.C. schools by raising awareness and creating resources to improve the school experience for racialized students, staff and families so that everyone feels a strong sense of belonging. To facilitate this work, the Ministry of Education and Child Care will provide new training opportunities for all school staff to help them better understand their role in fostering anti-racist school environments. The action plan will also empower students and staff to identify biases and address acts of racism or discrimination with new incident-response guidelines.
“For generations, Indigenous, Black and people of colour have worked to fit into a system that wasn’t necessarily built for them,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. “The K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan will help students and educators alike learn how to build more inclusive and equitable learning environments, so more students have equal opportunities to succeed. This action plan is an important part of our work to decolonize our institutions and build a better B.C. for everyone.”
The action plan will support school districts in their commitment to anti-racism initiatives in their school communities. Partnerships and sharing resources are key elements for school districts to learn from and support each other.
This action plan was developed through discussions over three years with students, rightsholders and Indigenous partners, education partners, educators and staff, as well as community organizations. Future anti-racism work by the Ministry of Education and Child Care will continue to incorporate feedback from the education sector and those with lived experiences of racism.
All school districts and independent schools are required to have codes of conduct and policies to address racism and discrimination. In addition, students and families now have access to more anti-racism resources on the Erase website.
The K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan is part of government’s commitment to dismantle systemic racism and build a better, more inclusive province for everyone.
- 58% of B.C. students say they have seen other students insulted, bullied or excluded based on their race or ethnicity.
- According to the B.C. adolescent health survey in 2018, a safe and supportive school environment, as well as the presence of caring school staff and feelings of being treated fairly, were associated with more positive outcomes among those who had experienced racism, including feeling safe at school and feeling good about themselves.
If you are experiencing racism or would like to report an incident of racism, there is information on the Erase website on how to make a non-emergency report.