How will Nanaimo Ladysmith School District trustee candidates protect children’s rights?

We asked candidates a series of questions using rights outlined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
School District written on the side of a school bus. Door is open. No people, nature background.
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools reside within the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As and Stz’uminus First Nations and serve nearly 15,000 students. Photo courtesy of Mary Salen

Election Day is on Saturday, Oct. 15 at polling stations across the city. Voters in the Nanaimo region will have the opportunity to select nine school trustees to serve on the Nanaimo Ladysmith school district board, the second-largest school district on Vancouver Island. 

At The Discourse, our mandate is to fill the gaps in local reporting. We decided to take a different approach to our school trustee questionnaire. Parental rights are often pitted against children’s rights. However the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and common law centre on rights for all people and the best interests of the child.

For the 2022 Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools District trustee elections, The Discourse sent out a candidate survey that follows a children’s rights framework, pulling from rights outlined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified in 1991. These questions were originally shared by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

Not sure what a school trustee does? Read our crash course guide to local politics.

Get a limited-edition tote bag!

The next 250 supporters of The Discourse will get a limited-edition tote bag, designed by bailey macabre, as a gift of thanks. To claim yours, make a contribution today and then fill out this form to let us know your address.

Ten of the school district’s 12 trustee candidates responded. The Discourse made multiple attempts to contact the other two candidates, Bill Robinson and Tanner Scott, who didn’t reply in time to publish.

The responses were lightly copy-edited for clarity. Candidates’ responses are displayed in the order they were received.

Children have the right to protection from harm, including “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.” 

If elected, how will you defend the right of children to protection from harm, particularly for Black, Indigenous and other racialized students?

Mark Allan Robinson

It is absolutely critical that we build stronger protections for children who are subjected to all forms of abuse simply because of their ethnicity. With my background vice-chairing our school district’s Race Relations Committee, I am all too aware of what has worked and what hasn’t. And as a single parent of three children who are racialized, it hits home even further. One of my priorities is increasing support in order to ensure that no child’s voice is left unheard. Another fundamental key would be to support workshops that can enrich district staff to better prepare themselves during tines of support. Finally, continuously enhance district policy in an ever changing world in order to keep up and be proactive rather than reactive.

Andrew William Gasson

Protection from harm means that students have at least one and hopefully many more connections to adults in the education system. To improve safety, access to personnel should be available in a wide variety of languages, and supports must be accessible to the level of learner that requires them. In many cases this means that excessive bureaucratization must be pushed back against, and forming relationships between school, students and community must be emphasized. 

Charlene McKay

If re-elected, I will continue to focus on the review of all policies and procedures to ensure there are no systemic practices in place that reduce or inhibit the protection of students. A Board of Education must ensure they have the appropriate cultural safety training in place for all staff to be able to identify and respond appropriately to any incident that could potentially harm a student. Further, should there be any concerns brought forward regarding the safety of students we must have processes in place to investigate these concerns so that we can act accordingly. I will continue to support the ongoing educational opportunities provided in SD68 that are a conscious effort to act upon T&R Call to Action #57.

Greg Keller

I support equity and inclusion in our school system and believe that no child should be subjected to harm regardless of skin colour, culture, or religion. I recognize that we have a lot of work to do on this topic. I look forward to the upcoming Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion project which seeks to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in the district.

Naomi Bailey

Schools should reflect the diversity of our community. When you walk through the doors of a school, you should feel the composition of the school reflected in the hallways, classrooms and attitudes of the staff. The first step in protection when you are a marginalized student is knowing that there is some part of you reflected in the school community. As an indigenous person, I know this well as I grew up in a non indigenous family and experienced life in a non indigenous community. It was challenging because I never saw anything that reflected who I was and where I came from. The second thing we need to focus on is ensuring that students know they have an adult to go to if they are feeling afraid and require protection. I have been advocating for more Child and Youth Care Workers who can help in the form of advocacy and support. They can ensure that the student’s voice is heard and that there will be action taken.

Tania Brzovic

Absolutely. Our district is going to be doing some work to determine how we can improve in this area. It starts with the Board. We have to do our own personal growth work on anti-racism in order to both have credibility, and to have the best lens in our decision-making.

Leanne Lee

We need to acknowledge that this is happening and have staff in place to be able to support these children in any way they need. We need to make sure we fund positions to have cultural support workers in schools to support children. We also need to advocate to the ministry about the injustices that are taking place to work towards changing the systemic racism that these students continue to face. We also need to continue to support education and training in our schools so that our staff are equipped to support these students. We also need to create cultures in our schools that continue with our values of inclusion, success and safety.

Chantelle Morvay

This is critical work that we must face head on. We must look at what our processes are to make sure we ourselves-the Board, management, and all the way down to teachers and EA’s- are not causing further harm. In my opinion, looking at policies through an anti-racism, anti-ableism, anti-oppression lens is the first step. We also need to have a safe, anonymous, accessible mechanism in which folks (staff, families and most especially students) can report to proper staff in the district if there is harm happening. I envision an action team that targets the issue and works towards preventing it again. Alongside that creating policies and procedures with meaningful consultation from diverse representation in the community-Maybe even with The Safe Schools collaborating with the Accessibility Committee?

Tom Rokeby

Representation matters. A child is more likely to trust an individual with whom they can identify. Our district must make sure that our staff reflects the communities they serve.

Leana Pellegrin

We have an inclusion policy that includes racism. We also have a big 11 page procedure dealing specifically with racism.

Children have the right to free expression, including the “freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.” 

How will you ensure that rights to freedom of expression are protected, particularly in cases of children seeking information about subjects like sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI)?

Mark Allan Robinson

SOGI is an integral component to support services and curriculum that is greatly misunderstood and misrepresented by a vocal minority. On a personal note, my family has been tremendously well served with this resource. It is incumbent for every trustee to understand and appreciate all components of SOGI123 and support its continued successes. Gender neutral washrooms have been used as a talking point to oppose SOGI and what people opposed to SOGI should consider is that in our very homes, we all have gender neutral washrooms. Children who are bullied because they have two moms at home is unacceptable at any level and does damage to their learning experience. Educating those who oppose SOGI or do not understand the core elements is a priority for me, and setting out strongly worded policies in clear language is another priority. Children must be able to speak without fear of being berated and harrassed by peers, let alone other adults.

Andrew William Gasson 

Any attempt to limit or reduce access to important information about sexuality must be fought back against. All attempts to educate children in an age appropriate way (as determined by professional consensus) should be supported by the school board. 

Charlene McKay

I support the full implementation of the SOGI educational resources that are provided by the Ministry of Education and Child Care and supported by all educational partners in British Columbia. As a school trustee, I will encourage continued training for all staff, so that when students are seeking information on SOGI related subjects the adults around them are prepared and comfortable with providing that information.

Greg Keller

I have stood strong on supporting SOGI since elected in 2018 and will continue to do so. In my role as a Trustee, I will continue to support policies, procedures, and learning environments that are inclusive and foster a caring and accepting school system. I will support freedom of expression and will ensure that the GSA’s are supported and that all students feel safe and welcome in school.

Naomi Bailey

I would encourage the creation of LGBTQ groups in schools which can be peer led and teacher sponsored. I have been a part of one when I was a teacher. I would also ensure that the subject of SOGI is taught in Career-Life Education. This gives the opportunity to ask questions or just learn about sexual orientation and gender identity. When we make topics and ideas an integrated part of our life and not separate it becomes a part of our daily life and is not considered “different”. It is no different than how we are working to make the indigenous ways of knowing, being and learning as a natural part of the way we live and approach learning. Protection comes from not making SOGI an isolated topic but a part of who we all are. Children having easy access to information, and their identity represented in a school will help in protecting their freedom of expression.

Tania Brzovic

This also speaks to the last question. We need to evaluate & update our policies on all levels of supporting Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI). It has to be the lens we use to make decisions with, just as much as we are guided by our Syeyutsus framework. We must make sure parents understand that SOGI is a part of the curriculum, and we expect our students to complete it. And we need to make sure kids have access to supports, be it counsellors, outside agencies, safe spaces in schools, and groups like GSAs. 

Leanne Lee

Every child has the right to be free from discrimination because of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity. We need to ensure that all children have access to support in schools in the form of counselors and places within the school where they feel safe. We also need to ensure our policies and procedures are clear and communicated with all of our staff. We also need to make sure there is training available for staff so they are comfortable with the topics and the information they need to be supportive. We need to ensure there is funding for resources in schools for library materials, to have designated rooms that are identifiable to students as a safe place, and to have gender neutral washrooms. Continue to have groups and clubs in schools where students can go to talk with staff and students.

Chantelle Morvay

We need to make sure that all students are made aware of who to speak to, and where to find information. Working in meaningful collaboration with the “safe persons” at schools and most especially students, to build in a system that makes all of it easily accessible and safe. 

Tom Rokeby

SOGI is curriculum, and I support it 100%. My kids are growing up far more knowledgeable and comfortable about themselves, their bodies and the diversity of their community. I truly appreciate it. trustees don’t set curriculum, but we can and must support staff who are delivering this life saving curriculum. Our teachers and classrooms must have access to the best resources, and guidance from professionals in this field so their own professional development remains current.

Leana Pellegrin

Sogi123 is already a part of BC education; it’s mandated by the province to be a part of education. It is embedded throughout the curriculum. It’s important that students see themselves and their families represented in each grade. Each student needs a safe adult and the right to feel safe and included at school. Each school needs to have a clearly marked safe classroom with a clear LGBTQ2S sticker on the door.

Children have the right to an education that is “child-centred, child-friendly and empowering” and is directed to the “development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

How will you protect the rights of children to an education that emphasizes teaching about racism as both a historic and contemporary phenomenon?

Mark Allan Robinson

My background working on the school district’s cultural mosaic project and as a guest speaker and mentor at the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society enriched my already strong views on both the historical and modern elements of racism in Canada. Our district has a zero tolerance policy on all forms of racism and this can be augmented having experienced trustees at the table on this issue. One specific layer of protection above and beyond what I have already identified as priorities include adapt policy as the world adapts around us and make certain that children know district policy in a way that is understandable for their age level, and help students be better prepared to identify catch phrases that stem from racism, whether overt or subtle. 

Andrew William Gasson

I will fight back against all attempts to reduce access to learning. This means that any funding plan that includes provisions for the dispensation of funds that attempt to reduce learners’ access to historical truths must not be allowed to pass.

Charlene McKay

I have been a strong supporter of the Syeyutsus Reconciliation Framework in School District 68. The meaning of Syeyutsus is walking together or walking in two worlds. This foundation requires all staff to deeply understand the historic and current context of racial harm to the Indigenous families in the communities we serve. This foundational knowledge allows our staff to approach topics of historical and contemporary racism of all kinds in a sensitive and thoughtful way. By following an approach that blends traditional ways of knowing with contemporary ways of teaching, students will have the opportunity to engage in their learning in a culturally safe manner. As a school trustee, I will continue to support Syeyutsus as the foundation of how we work in the district and model how to engage in discussions and learning that supports an open and caring dialogue so that students will have an education that emphasizes human rights.

Greg Keller

As a white middle-aged male, I recognize my privilege. In my role, I will support curriculum and programs that help teach our students about racism, colonization from both a historic and contemporary perspective. This would include opportunities for the Board to learn as well. One of the mechanisms that I support through the Board’s role is to support updating/creating a new Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy. 

Naomi Bailey

I was one of the first teachers to teach “Genocide Studies” which was going to be an elective in the new curriculum for Social Studies. It is an important course that illustrates the ongoing systemic issues we have both here in Canada and in other parts of the world. The only way to rid ourselves of hatred is to educate our students about our past, and what is happening today. As an Indigneous woman, I have the lived experience of what racism feels like. Therefore I will continue to encourage our Board and senior management to ensure that students are given the opportunity to learn about our history and our world history through courses, activities and teachable moments. We also have to support teachers in accessing the proper resources as well.

Tania Brzovic

By supporting teachers to have the curriculum resources they need, knowing & upholding the Truth & Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and being guided by our elders. When we are working on policies we make sure that they are vetted by them. We have a wonderful Leaders for Learning group that supports our service delivery. We want to live Truth & Reconciliation every day, not just once a year. We know we may fall short at times, and we continue to strive to do better & work in a good way. While I have written specifically about anti-Indigenous racism, it applies to all types of racism. We have to teach with an anti-racism lens, and make sure to help children to understand racism in a developmentally appropriate way. 

Leanne Lee

We need to acknowledge that it exists and have conversations around what is happening and what has happened. As a trustee I would need to make sure that we are constantly evaluating our policies and procedures to include training around racism so that our staff are equipped to have the tools needed to have conversations with students. We must encourage all stakeholders in a child’s life be involved in these conversations. We need to make sure our policies include information about human rights and responsibilities. We need to have cultural liaison workers available to mentor staff and students.

Chantelle Morvay

Encourage and support resources for teachers that they can use in a culturally safe and anti-oppressive way. Mentoring is also integral to information sharing, I look to support more of what teachers have identified as gaps in knowledge and resources. 

Tom Rokeby

Before I ever considered being a trustee, I was a Social Studies teacher in the district and I made every effort to explain to students how racism and colonialism are intertwined and ongoing. Since leaving the classroom, I have taken personal steps as an artist to decolonize my practice. It is a rich and rewarding process. I do encourage all professionals to decolonize their profession, to speak openly of practices that need to stop, and ideas that deserve our attention.  

Leana Pellegrin

Curriculum is set by the province, if a teacher is not teaching what is required that is addressed within the school. I’d like to see a lot more being taught about racism, it’s an ongoing heartbreak of an issue in schools.

Children have the right to privacy. “No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence.” This includes membership to 2SLGBTQ+ clubs, for example, and connecting with school counsellors.

If elected, how will you defend the rights of children to privacy?”

Mark Allan Robinson

Students who wish to be included in 2SLGBTQ+ clubs or events should be able to do so whether publicly or privately. Some children may fear participating because they have family or friends who would give an enormous amount of pressure or even harm should they want to express themselves freely. This is unacceptable and one key to address this would be ensuring that certain meetings are confidential and away from the public eye with the support and supervision of qualified staff. Another way to defend privacy rights is to set out stronger club policy guidelines that reflect this integral right.

Andrew William Gasson

As privacy is a fundamental right of all people in society, this implies that we must trust that children, even very young ones, can be empowered with the capacity to speak for themselves. Their voices should always be held in high regard, and attempts to change the locus of power from the student to the parent must not be allowed to pass through the board unimpeded.

Charlene McKay

All students should have access counsellors and clubs in their schools. Their right to privacy is of the utmost importance during these interactions. As a school trustee, I will continue supporting 2SLGBTQ+ clubs in all our schools where students shall continue to have full control of who they share that membership status with. I will continue to work in support of our Safe Schools Committee where staff and allies from around the district can raise areas of concern and find new and continued ways to support these clubs and students in schools.

Greg Keller

As a Trustee, I believe that personal privacy is paramount. We can discuss issues that affect a student without naming that student. I would also ensure that we have a system in place that accommodates student membership to 2SLGBTQ+ clubs and visits to school counselors in a way that maintains confidentiality. 

Naomi Bailey

Teachers and support staff have had to take a “course” on the Freedom of Informataion and Protection of Privacy Act”, although it is not a yearly occurance. I would encourage senior manangement to have administration in schools do a review of what this Act means. New teachers and staff to the district should be taking the course when they are hired. Staff who are found negligent in protecting students rights to privacy should be disciplined as it is a violation of one’s individual rights.

Tania Brzovic

We must have it in policy that students have a right to privacy & teachers/admin aren’t allowed to share with anyone if a kid joins a 2SLGBTQ+ club, or comes out, etc. 

Leanne Lee 

Children have the right to privacy, and their disclosure to an adult in a school setting in regards to gender identity/ sex assigned at birth remains confidential to the individuals in the conversation. If elected is it my responsibility to ensure the school districts policies are developed and communicated to and understood by everyone employed by the district. Children need to know that school is a safe place where they are accepted just as they are. Children have the right to discuss and express as little or as much about themselves as they see fit and it is our responsibility to ensure this information is kept confidential. Children need to know where the safe places and people are in their schools so they can go for help when they need it.

Chantelle Morvay

Making sure our policies and procedures are clear and firmly understood by staff. This includes making sure staff understand how to keep information safe on technology and when we speak to others. 

Tom Rokeby

I ran clubs at schools for years. The nature of clubs was casual and I can’t ever recall being asked to report attendance. This practice should not be changed because of a particular topic.  Counselors must work in the best interest of the child only. I know my former colleagues behave ethically, and as a trustee I would ensure staff feel supported if undue pressure ever challenges these child-centered practices.

Leana Pellegrin 

This is very important, if this vital right to privacy is not being honoured, this needs to be addressed immediately. Our inclusion policy for the district covers everything to do with students’ sense of belonging, and safety which includes privacy.

Children have the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

Repeated studies have indicated that exclusionary home and school environments — those which deny or invalidate a young person’s gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability — are linked to negative mental health consequences.

If elected, how will you defend the right to health of students?

Mark Allan Robinson

Additional support services would go a long way in addressing this. Many teachers in our district are working on their Masters for this very purpose (support students) and our district needs to make sure that we have places for them to use their new qualifications or we will lose them to other districts who will.

Andrew William Gasson

Student’s health depends on nutrition, hygiene, contact with medical professionals and connection to family and community. The school board has the opportunity to fund initiatives to improve each of these areas, and should do so as much as possible.

Charlene McKay

The health of students has never been more important. I will continue to advocate for wrap-around community supports for students in all areas of health and wellness, including mental health. I support the continued expansion of medical clinics in SD68 schools where students can receive health care from various providers, including physicians and nurse practitioners. Supporting these clinics is an optimal way to ensure students receive the care they need while upholding the privacy they need when accessing services.

Greg Keller

I would defend the right to health of students by ensuring that we have policies and programs in place that support SOGI education and provide students with access to resources and sexual health professionals to ensure that students have the adequate supports and positive connections with responsible adults in the school system. I would support the creation of peer support groups as well as programs and policies that encourage acceptance and diversity.

Naomi Bailey

I have experienced this first hand as an educator. Over the years I have had students disclose to me their sexual orientation probably because they felt it was a safe place. Some had faced repercussions at home and were suffering from depression and anxiety. I feel we need more supports in the schools, rather than seeking out external agencies to help students. Child and Youth Care Workers are invaluable as well as counsellors in the schools. However, we need to address the student to counsellor ratio as it is unmanageable. School Districts are having challenges filling counselling positions due to the volume of paperwork and many counsellors are also doing a teaching block outside of the timetable. They need to be available to the students. My platform centres around mental health supports.

Tania Brzovic

Ensure that we are following our administrative procedures around these issues. We expect staff to respect students’ choices around pronouns, names, etc, (and respect their privacy if they aren’t out at home). It comes down to strong policies & procedures, ensuring we follow them and advocating for the supports we need in areas where we are falling short. For example, we know we have students with disabilities who aren’t in school a full day every day, because we can’t safely support them. So that means we have to advocate for the funding we need to properly support these students. 

Leanne Lee

Schools have a significant influence on social norms and we need to be creating a truly inclusive learning environment where all students feel free to be themselves with no judgement. As a trustee it will be imperative to support and ensure policies and procedures focus on supporting a safe and supportive and respectful environment for all students. It will be imperative to ensure that schools have funding available to have access to the resources they need to have educational materials on hand to be available for students and staff. We will need to ensure that students are aware of safe places in schools to go when they need help and that there is funding for staff and counselors. We need to create a culture in schools where every student feels included and safe. 

Chantelle Morvay

I will be making sure our policies and procedures are firmly aligned with the school strategic plan to make it anti-ableist, anti-racist and anti-oppressive. As we know, intersectionality can play a role in how a student is treated by peers and staff. I will support an increase in training in what oppression and intersectionality means throughout the school community. This could look like awareness campaigns. For example how bullying is a form of oppression, how unconscious bias shows up and plays into how we interact with each other. I also feel we need to make sure we are informing our students of what their rights are. 

Tom Rokeby

As a school community, we strive to present kids with a consistent, reliable, professional, healthy environment because for some of our students it will be the only place in their lives that does. We attempt to give all children the same opportunity to be well informed about the diversity of the world around them, and their own rights and responsibilities within it. Schools must never become an exclusionary environment. Inclusion is one very important tool for building resilience in our children and our communities. As a trustee, I will continue to advocate for this vision, but also take the time to learn from those who see weakness or oversight in our delivery.

Leana Pellegrin

Our school district inclusion policy also includes this, there are procedures in place and protocols to follow if this is not happening. The typical order for youth is addressing this with teacher and principals. If the needs are still not being met, then you go through the senior staff, deputy superintendent, assistant superintendents and so on. Every student has a right to the highest attainable standard of health.

Children who belong to religious or linguistic minority groups, or who are Indigenous, have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, and to use their own language, in community with other members of their group.

If elected, how will you defend the rights of religious and linguistic minoritized students, as well as Indigenous students?

Mark Allan Robinson

With my past work on Nanaimo’s Culture and Heritage Commission, it has been a real blessing to have had the opportunity to work with people from all backgrounds, cultures, and ancestries. And as a speaker of several languages, I have had the benefit and pleasure of speaking to parents in their own language from all around the world on this very issue. A specific example is when two children are playing during recess and speaking their native tongue, there should be no interference from that as we have historically seen in the past. Even in the classroom, students should be allowed to explain a concept to each other during group work activities that one may not fully understand. Continued partnerships such as we have had with Snuneymuxw First Nations go a long way in building solid relationships, creating a blueprint for success, and offering more autonomy for the Indigenous community to protect and preserve their language, culture and heritage. By building upon successes, I would ensure that we maintain healthy and open lines of communication with stakeholders to ensure we are a dynamic district that adapts promptly and appropriately with qualified input from those that are affected the most. 

Andrew William Gasson

School must remain a place of secularity, where we are free to celebrate but not impose our various haritages. In this spirit, the concept of access must be broadened so that it comes to mean that every family has the ability to come to the educational environment and learn without having to assimilate or conform.

Charlene McKay

Students should always be provided the safe spaces to be themselves, and this includes using their preferred language. I will ensure that discussions and any policies/procedures related to safe, caring and inclusive schools for students include identifying a student’s right to express themselves with their peers in their chosen language. For Indigenous languages, and specifically Hul’qumi’num in SD68, school trustees have an obligation to support the revitalization of the language as a continued act of reconciliation.

Greg Keller

I would support freedom of expression in terms of religion, language, and culture. I would support an educative and relational approach to ensuring caring and acceptance of these students. 

Naomi Bailey

Defense of the rights of Indigneous students will be to ensure we are implementing the TRC Calls to Actions, particularly around culture and language. We need to hire more Indigenous staff, particularly those who can teach language. We need to work at decolonizing the system and recognizing our Knowledge Keepers on the same level as teachers/instructors. This is how we defend the rights of Indigenous students. We also need to ensure that the fundamental freedom as written in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms ( freedom of conscience and religion) is an integral part of a child’s daily life. Schools are aware of their communities and the diversity in their schools. The school should reflect that in their presentation and programs offered. By doing this, students feel included and safe.

Tania Brzovic

I am admittedly unsure, beyond continuing to grow what we already do. And always listening to those who are impacted & asking them how THEY think we can achieve this goal. 

Leanne Lee 

I would encourage that polices/procedures in our district support the education of inclusion of all students. As SD 68 continues on the path of reconciliation it is imperative to encourage students to learn together. Every child needs to be able to express themselves as they are without judgement when it comes to personal or cultural identity. For our indigenous students in SD teaching Hul’qumi’num is part of the path towards reconciliation. As a trustee I would continue to support the allocation of resources to make this happen in our schools. We must acknowledge that learning ultimately supports the expression of the self, the family, the community, the land, the community, the spirits and the ancestors. (First Nations Education Steering Committee). 

Chantelle Morvay

I will support the creation of awareness campaigns that are created with input from those who are in the religious and linguistic minority and Indigenous students and their families surrounding their human right to speak their language and practice their religion. It also helps when folks get to learn more and have a sense of what they are about, so maybe social media campaigns that invite the community to learn more. One example is: Halloween is coming up and it is always fraught with folks dressing up in culturally appropriated costumes to school. I will encourage the district to send correspondence to all schools to address this in communication home to families. 

Tom Rokeby

With residential schools (sic) so fresh in our collective memory, it stands to reason that the lessons learned from this horrific part of our history leaves lessons that need to be applied to all communities.  From hair, to language, to song and traditions, these are a part of the whole child. We need to continue to work towards a school system that leaves those gifts unharmed in order to deliver curriculum.

Leana Pellegrin

Absolutely! I am very lucky to be a part of the Syeyutsus committee in this district, Indigenous culture is very important, and keeping Hul’q’umi’num alive and thriving, this work is starting to be implemented in all schools. Speaking any language should be celebrated and safe to do.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top