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Video of racial slur being investigated by Calgary Catholic School Board

The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) is investigating after a dated video surfaced showing a substitute teacher making racist remarks while talking to a Black student.

On Tuesday (Oct 6.), the video surfaced showing an apparent substitute teacher at Bishop McNally High School describing black licorice to a Black student eating the candy.

During that conversation, the teacher uttered the racial slur.

The CCSD said that it is a “personnel issue” and they’re investigating the incident.

The school district confirmed that this video is not from this year.

Last week, a similar incident occurred where a student at St. Michael School was suspended after recording the principal using the same slur.

The CCSD said that they addressed the issue and their stance regarding the latter incident remains the same.

“We take every situation seriously and will investigate each individually to ensure a positive outcome that aligns with our faith,” said Dr. Bryan Szumlas, the CCSD’s Chief Superintendent.

Because it is a personnel issue, he said they cannot comment further.

“We can’t discuss any specific personnel situations due to privacy concerns,” Szumlas said.

Calls to action

Sankofa Arts and Music Foundation, a non-profit organization in Calgary that’s dedicated to empowering youth voices, is demanding action from the school district.

They’re planning a student walkout on Thursday (Oct. 10) to protest the recent incidents at Catholic schools in the city.

The organization also provided a list of actions they want institutions to take, including public acknowledgment by education officials at all three levels of government.

“We are calling for a stop to this ongoing, longstanding, and dangerous discrimination,” said Marion Ashton, the organization’s executive director in a statement.

In response to the incident, Lena Clayton, a representative with the Calgary Black Lives Matter organization said that the group hopes that the CCSD takes these incidents seriously.

“We would hope that a school’s priority is to protect our children and create a safe environment for them, ” she said.

She added that using the slur from a place of privilege is hate speech and therefore oppression.

‘Not a new thing.’

“The conversation around not saying it has gone on long enough without any consequences for perpetrators,” said Clayton.

Referring to the video that surfaced, Clayton says that the message to the students from the school is clear.

“‘Three for a penny,'” They are not even worth a penny,” said Clayton.

“A currency many of these students are too young to have used. It is of so little value that it no longer exists.”

She added that people are still able to safely practice racism in Calgary without repercussion, and that it is not a new thing.

“What is new, is posting about racism and for this people are being reprimanded for saying ‘I am being harmed,'” said Clayton.  

“This must end now.”