Outraged students organized a walk-out in response to recordings that were unveiled of staff members using the n-word. Hundreds of students who attend multiple different high schools in Calgary, Canada participated in the walk-out. Students at Bishop McNally High School originated the protest and were able to get other schools to join in.
The demonstration happened on the morning of October 8 and began demanding that other schools in the district address problems of racism. Videos of the protest began going viral on Reddit on Thursday morning in a subreddit called r/PublicFreakout. The video began to pick up steam and has over 18,000 upvotes on the site.
There were two separate videos that were secretly recorded by students of staff at the school using the n-word. The first one was of the principal of St. Michael School, Lianne Anderson, using the n-word. The principal saw no repercussions but the four students involved were suspended because the school claims they violated the code of conduct.
Another incident reportedly happened within the last two years but the video is just recently coming to light. The school has apologized for both incidents in a statement to CBC News. The chief superintendent Bryan Szumlas emailed a statement to the news station but said they could not openly discuss the matters over privacy concerns.
“We apologize and our hearts go out to any student or staff member ever impacted by systemic racism,” he added, “We take every situation seriously and will investigate each individually to ensure a positive outcome that aligns with our faith.”
Although, Alberta Education made their stance known to the students to show their support for them. Press Secretary Colin Aitchison emailed CBC a statement, saying, “Period. We do not condone it. And frankly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone in the education system that this is completely unacceptable and inappropriate. It is our expectation that the school division will take steps to listen to their community and work to ensure safe, welcoming and caring learning environments for all of their students and staff.”
Chief Superintendent Szumlas said, “We hear the voices of our students concerning this important matter. There is work to be done in our district on systemic racism. In consultation with stakeholders, we will work on professional development for all our staff and on information for our families. Each and every one of us has a role to play in the fight against racism.”