Canada's School District 74 launched a campaign in January, addressing racism with posters featuring quotes from school administrators on their personal experiences. According to CBC, the posters shined a light on white privilege, featured phrases like, "Got privilege?" and "If you don't have to think about it, it's a privilege."
Some parents are raising concerns about the posters, though.
I’m against the posters- no one should assume they can measure someone’s “privilege” score based on skin tone or gender. There’s advantaged and disadvantaged kids of all genders, skin colour, physical and intellectual gifts, and combinations thereoff. #thisisnottheway— Trevor Panas (@Trevor_Panas) March 9, 2018
It should hit a nerve with ALL parents! White shaming has no place in society, never mind in our schools! Whoever approved it should be fired! #WhiteShaming #bcpoli— Dayleen Van Ryswyk (@Dayleen4Kelowna) March 9, 2018
One parent in particular, Kansas Field Allen, expressed her grievances via Facebook and asked other parents to join in on the conversation. Another parent complained they were not made aware of the campaign before the posters were displayed.
"We are trying to acknowledge that racism does exist and that some people, as a result of racism, are disadvantaged," noted Teresa Downs, superintendent for School District 74.
Every school within the district chose to put up the posters.
"We were also very aware of some information we had from [students] in our school district around some of the racism and prejudice and bias that they were facing, both in their schools and also in the community," Downs continued, explaining how the posters came to be.
One of Allen's concerns is broaching the topic of racism with students; some of whom she believed to be too young for such a conversation.
"You and I can talk as adults about these posters, but what do you say to a first-grader?," Allen questioned.
However, Downs believes no child is too young to be taught tolerance. The superintendent said, "I think children have incredible capacity to observe and learn about the world around them."
Okay so they feel it's a disservice to mixed families
Yes that could be confusing for a kid but then that's your job as a parent to talk to them about, and a young age is the best time.
"You and I can talk as adults about these posters, but what do you say to a first-grader?" What's so mentally damaging about the concept of privilege that you can't talk to a 6-year-old about it? Or wait until their attitudes are harder to change? https://t.co/wKqJHyxyKj— Michael Serebriakov (@MichaelSilverV) March 8, 2018
Downs realizes the topic will be difficult, but notes it is important to continue the discussion.
"We really think the one-on-one, face-to-face dialogue is what is best around such a complex issue and matter," Downs said."We do understand that this is a discussion about race and privilege, and it can make some people uncomfortable."
British Columbia Minister of Education Rob Fleming noted that students in the Canadian province typically learn about discrimination and race at an early age, and says that his schools have always tried to combat racism.
Fleming said, "I think anything that furthers that discussion and understanding amongst our students is a good thing and that's been part of the curriculum for some time now."