St. Paul Education’s response to a recent video containing a racial slur is committing $10,000 in the budget to help educate students on racism.
The video was posted on social media on New Year’s eve and included local youth saying a racial slur against the Black community. The incident did not occur on school property or during regular school hours.
Heather Starosielski is the Board Chair of St. Paul Education (SPERD).
Starosielski says the money was “Approved by our board of trustees to put in an injection of $10,000 into this year’s school budget to work on solutions in multiple areas including racism.”
“At our last board meeting Superintendent Brodziak shared a list of activities that are currently occurring in schools that address the topics bullying, discrimination, digital citizenship, respect, kindness, and empathy,” Starosielski told Lakeland Connect. “Prior to the pandemic, every staff member and certain grade levels were required to participate in a Blue Quills Residential Tour and a Blanket Exercise in our efforts to address the Calls to Action in the Truth & Reconciliation.”
Starosielski says Superintendent Brodziak acknowledged that there is more effort needed to address issues occurring in their schools, communities, and society at large.
“Superintendent Brodziak requested additional funds to support the division’s work in this area,” Starosielski told Lakeland Connect. “The Board approved a motion to allocate $10,000 to reinforce work in this area with all students, staff, families, and communities.”
The video, which was filmed on Snapchat, gained a lot of attention online which prompted an RCMP investigation.
According to an RCMP news release, “On Jan 3, the St. Paul RCMP received a report of a social media video showing youth expressing a racial slur directed at the African Canadian community, in unison, during a social gathering on Dec. 31, 2021.”
The St. Paul RCMP has initiated an investigation into this matter and wants to assure the public that this incident is being taken very seriously and is utilizing the appropriate resources, including the Alberta RCMP Hate Crimes Coordinator, to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted.
As a result of the social media post, some of the youth alleged to have been involved have been threatened. Investigations into those allegations have also been undertaken.
Hate-motivated crimes are criminal offences committed against a person, an organization, or property that are motivated by hate, prejudice, or bias against an identifiable group. A hate-motivated incident may be motivated by the same factors as a hate-motivated crime, but it does not reach the threshold of being a criminal offence. Such incidents may include name-calling or racial insults.
The St. Paul RCMP urges members of the public to resist the urge to take matters into their own hands. The St. Paul RCMP is working with the community and School Board to ensure all students feel safe. The St. Paul RCMP encourages all victims and witnesses to report any hate-motivated crime or incident to their local police of jurisdiction.