Edmonton city police on Tuesday confirmed in an email that officers with the crime and violent extremism unit are investigating
Edmonton’s public school division has reported a “hate-filled” Instagram account to the city police.
Edmonton Public Schools spokeswoman Carrie Rosa said in an email Tuesday that Strathcona School staff were made aware of a social media account over the weekend that was advocating for equal rights for whites while diminishing Black equity efforts. Rosa said the school informed parents about the account, which was using the Strathcona name and images.
“There is zero tolerance for hate-filled accounts and posts like this,” she said. “Our Black, Indigenous and people of colour students have the right to feel safe and welcome in their school and community. Accounts like this show us we still have work to do to ensure our learning environments are welcoming for our Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) students. It also shows us that anti-racism education is integral to this work.”
Edmonton city police on Tuesday confirmed in an email that officers with the crime and violent extremism unit are investigating and working with the school. As of Tuesday morning, the account had more than 30 followers and only three posts. In one of the most recent posts, the account states there will be legal action taken against the school.
“We demand Strathcona high school to deal with this issue or face prosecution,” the post said.
Edmonton Public Schools Board Chair Trisha Estabrooks said she’s never come across anything similar during her time with the division as a trustee and chair. She said the case highlights the need for more students to be educated more on anti-racism.
“Suffice to say the school and the division are taking this really seriously,” Estabrooks said. “We can’t shy away from having these tough conversations in our classrooms, in our schools and in our broader society. This is an opportunity to have those tough conversations. This post shows to me how clearly needed these conversations are and how more work needs to be done.”
Estabrooks did highlight some of the steps the division is taking to incorporate anti-racism into the classroom, including writing to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange to add Black history into Alberta’s curriculum in a meaningful way and giving first reading to on an anti-racism and equity policy.
Strathcona High School principal Hans Van Ginhoven in a letter to parents on Tuesday said at the moment they do not know who created the account but called it “inappropriate, racist, hate-filled.”
“Today, there were conversations throughout the school about who we want to be, how we can do and be better and ensure our BIPOC students feel part of this community,” Van Ginhoven said. “This is ongoing work and with your support, I know we will (take) steps in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, another white student alliance Instagram account was created on Tuesday this time apparently using images from W. P. Wagner School.