Statement from board chairperson regarding General Gordon Elementary

Board & Committees

December 10, 2017

Janet Fraser, chairperson of Vancouver Board of Education, has issued the following statement:

"The Vancouver Board of Education (VBE) has specific multiculturalism, anti-racism and non-discrimination policies in place. We are committed to these policies and expect all VSB schools, including General Gordon Elementary, will implement these policies through practices that are consistent with the intent and direction of these policies. 

"One of the guiding principles of the multiculturalism policy (ACA: Multiculturalism and Anti-racism) is that the board will develop and support an environment that affirms, respects, reflects and celebrates the racial, ethno-cultural and religious diversity of our society. 

"The VBE sincerely regrets any practices at General Gordon Elementary that have negatively impacted a sense of inclusion and representation for students and parents within our school community. As Chairperson, I apologize on behalf of the Board to the students and their families who did not feel welcomed and included at their school. We acknowledge that in the interpretation and implementation of our policies, there has been confusion about what is permitted as part of upcoming winter celebrations, including Hanukkah. 

"The Board Chairperson and School District staff will be meeting with members of the families on Monday to ensure that their children, as well as all others, are included and represented in their school.

"We will continue to keep our parents and community informed of our plans and actions to address the concerns expressed and demonstrate the VSB's commitment to honour and recognize diverse cultural holidays and celebrations."