Dear Parents/Guardians, Students and Staff:
Our District’s mission is to inspire all learners to reach their full potential and create a positive legacy for the future. We believe students need to feel valued, know they belong, and see themselves reflected within the schools they attend in order to be successful. Our District has taken initial steps in our anti-racism journey including our work with Truth and Reconciliation in our schools. However, we are learning that more work is necessary for our students to feel that every child matters. This is an important milestone for our District, and we believe it is our responsibility to take on a leadership role against racism.
As a District, we have to look to the past to understand our present, in hopes of fostering a better future. As author Ibram X. Kendi writes in his book, How To Be An Anti-Racist, “Our societies, our policies, our ideas, our histories, and our cultures have rendered race and made it matter.” With this knowledge, the District is committed to engaging with Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) and the white community in uncomfortable but meaningful conversations about racism.
Historically, around the globe and here in Langley, people have been and continue to be, categorized by race, and with that categorization comes inequalities. The District recognizes systemic racism in education and in our community. We understand that Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) have been, and continue to be, disadvantaged because of these systems and structures which are often not visible. As an educational institution, we are aware the District is one of those systems. We know we need to be better. Through education, our District aims to understand and challenge these structures, with the goal to remove barriers in order to create a safer and more inclusive community. Our District will be doing everything possible to ensure Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour feel nurtured and safe.
Our District is taking opportunities to focus on anti-racism through education. We will continue to celebrate and support initiatives such as Black History Month, Diversity and Respect Week, and Orange Shirt Day. However, we are dedicated to ensuring our anti-racism learning extends all year round in a meaningful way.
The following are examples of our commitments in action to date in the Langley School District:
- Establishment of an Anti-Racism Working Group (formed in June 2020)
- Establishment of a new role, District Principal for Wellness and Diversity (formed in January 2021)
- Revision of Administrative Procedure No. 170 – Anti-Harassment/Anti-Discrimination, that provides explicit anti-racism language and support for students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (in progress as of February 2021)
- Review of the School District Code of Conduct (in progress as of February 2021)
- Providing education and awareness to all staff, administrators, and students
- Providing education and awareness to parents/guardians and community partners
- Supporting diversity clubs at the school and District level
- Purchasing books and resources for teachers to use that more accurately reflect diversity within schools and families
- Implementation of Ministry of Education curriculum related to anti-racism
- School and District celebrations to support diversity
As our District embarks on our anti-racism journey, we recognize it is not something that can be accomplished in the short-term. We anticipate challenges and struggles but rest assured the District is committed to this journey. We also recognize the complex nature of racism and anti-racism and expect there to be difficult and uncomfortable conversations ahead within and outside of our school community.
We are proud of the work that is already underway by our staff and embraced by our students. Moving forward, our District will continue supporting and engaging our students and staff in rich learning and deep conversations about anti-racism. We will put a greater effort into sharing this knowledge beyond our schools. Later in the year, we will be engaging with our families, community partners, and agencies, encouraging them to work alongside us on this journey.
We are committed to working with our community on the role they can play in being an ally for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, and also in helping change the systems and structures that support a power imbalance. In order to make a positive difference, we know that we cannot do this alone. We are confident this open dialogue will be in the best interest of our students and future generations to come.
Superintendent of Schools