New provincial anti-racism action plan aims to improve school experiences for BIPOC students
In an effort to fight racism and discrimination in schools, the B.C. government has launched the K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan, designed to support school districts across the province in implementing anti-racism initiatives in their communities.
Announced by the Ministry of Education and Child Care, the action plan will empower students and educators to address acts of racial discrimination with new incident response guidelines, anti-racism resources and partnerships. Staff will also have new training opportunities to better understand their role in fostering more inclusive and equitable learning environments.
“As a school district, we are committed to learning, growth, and continuous improvement,” said Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. “Our district has clear policies on creating safe and caring environments for our staff and students. But we also recognize that there is more work needed.
“Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing a five-year plan that outlines how our district will begin to strategically address racial equity to ensure that every student in our district receives a high quality, culturally sustaining and socially just education.”
Surrey Schools recently established a Racial Equity department, led by Director of Instruction JB Mahli, who will form the five-year plan, taking into consideration the lived experiences of BIPOC members of our school communities.
The department was launched on the recommendation of an outside organization that conducted an extensive environmental scan of the district in the Spring of 2021. As part of this process, the district held 39 listening circles for students, families, staff and members of the broader Surrey and White Rock communities to share their experiences with racism in school.
These listening circles helped the district identify gaps between its values and the lived school experiences of the community, and directly informed a set of recommendations that were unanimously approved by the Surrey Board of Education in September 2022.
The Racial Equity department is using these recommendations as a roadmap to guide the district’s five-year plan and work toward a more equitable future for our students and schools.
To see the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s full release on the new action plan, click here