​​Ensuring An Antiracist Environment Is Essential For Student And Staff Success 

Category: District

​The Delta School District’s Vision for 2030 is to be an innovative, inclusive community where all learners belong and everyone soars. Last fall, in support of this Vision and with an awareness that there is further work to do to champion equity and inclusion, Delta’s Antiracism Committee used a staff survey to gather baseline data and guide antiracism efforts moving forward.

430 school district staff members responded to the survey. More than half shared that they had witnessed or directly experienced racism within the district. Staff members described interactions with students, parents and colleagues where they noticed others using stereotypes about race, ethnicity or culture. Often racism occurs through language, jokes, assumptions and beliefs, and results in members of the school community being excluded.

Many respondents also identified structural or systemic concerns that are deeply embedded and not always readily visible or conscious that lead to or prolong the unfair treatment of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour. For example, a lack of diversity within the curriculum, leadership positions, policies and procedures, learning resources, school concerts and assemblies, and in the acknowledgment of important dates.

Together, the findings and personal stories shared in the survey highlighted the following themes:

  • When people do not feel safe at work, they cannot bring their full skills and gifts to their work.
  • The more self-aware we can be, the more we can contribute to a safe and inclusive environment.
  • Being antiracist means educating ourselves and challenging ourselves to take action against racist systems, structures and behaviours.

“The role of education in building intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect is vital in advancing the journey of reconciliation, and addressing and eliminating racism,” says Satnam Chahal, Nancy Gordon and Brooke Moore, Co-Chairs of the District’s Antiracism Committee. “We believe there is a need for action on all fronts – from addressing the ways in which racial bias makes its way into everyday interactions and understanding how best to intervene when witnessing racism, to thinking carefully about how it is reflected in our systems and structures. If we want every student and staff member in Delta to feel valued, seen and heard, we know that it’s not enough to be ‘not racist’, we must proactively strive to be antiracist. The survey results have been extremely helpful in identifying areas where the district needs to deliberately focus time and attention in order to move forward.”

Action is underway. Last year, a working group of Delta educators developed a website containing valuable resources for anyone looking to learn more about antiracism. You can find it at www.deltalearns.ca/antiracism.

This year, in each Secondary School, Antiracism Committee School Teams are conducting a student survey and working on antiracism initiatives. These initiatives include a project funded by BC Multiculturalism Grants that engage students in advocacy against racism in their schools. One of the key deliverables from this project is an educational video that will be used to support learning throughout the district.

As well, the Delta School District, in consultation with the Antiracism Committee, has committed to a number of actions including educating all staff on the recently approved Antiracism Procedure and their duty to uphold it; helping staff members learn more about antiracism; recognizing significant days/months and cultural celebrations; supporting work sites in becoming more antiracist; and requiring future learning resource purchases to be considered through an antiracist lens – including prioritizing content created by Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour.