WATCH: Calgary high school students walk out of class, march to CPS HQ demanding change

Students walk out to protest against recent videos showing racial slurs being used at Calgary Catholic schools

Students walked out of Bishop McNally High School in northeast Calgary Thursday morning. OMAR SHERIF / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Calgary high school students walked out of class Thursday morning, two days after a second video surfaced showing a Calgary Catholic School teacher using a racial slur.

The walk out happened outside of Bishop McNally High School in the northeast. It was organized by The Sankofa Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to empowering the voices of youth.

“We have a list of demands,” said Marion Ashton, the executive director of Sankofa Arts.

“We are calling for a stop to this ongoing, longstanding and dangerous discrimination,” she said.

Marion Ashton, executive director of Sankofa, reading a list of demands to the Calgary Catholic School District. (OMAR SHERIF/FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

More than 100 students walked out of class on Thursday morning, citing that systemic racism must end and that the school district must take action.

“She didn’t have to say it,” said James Gordon a student at Bishop McNally in reference to the teacher.

“There’s a lot of teachers like that at the school and we want to point it out now.”


CCSD said that they’re investigating this, along with another recent incident that happened at St. Michaels, another Catholic school in Calgary.

“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’s a personnel issue, he said they cannot comment further.

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

Students outside of Bishop McNally High School where the walkout happened on Thursday morning. (OMAR SHERIF / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

‘Change has to come’

Students marched from the school to the Calgary Police Headquarters to demand racial equality and fair treatment of Black people in institutions in Calgary.

They took a knee in front of the building and chanted “change has to come.”

Constable Craig Collins with the Calgary Police called it a “powerful moment.”

“It’s impactful.” he said.

“I’ve had conversations with them before, they’re an amazing bunch of human beings.”

Collins has worked with Sankofa over the last two years, and said he’s happy that these students are able to share their message the way they do.

Police Constable Craig Collins (OMAR SHERIF/FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

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