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No tolerance for violence, racism: Rainbow Board responds to Manitoulin brawl

Says incident didn't start out racially motivated, but bigotry quickly emerged
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The Rainbow District School Board has issued a statement reacting to the brawl at Manitoulin Secondary School in M'Chigeeng last week, saying what started as a unrelated fight quickly escalated into a racial incident. (Supplied)

The Rainbow District School Board has issued a statement reacting to the brawl at Manitoulin Secondary School last week, saying what started as a unrelated fight quickly escalated into a racial incident.

“We do not tolerate violence, discrimination or racism in our schools,” board chair Doreen Dewar is quoted as saying in the release. “The incident that triggered the series of altercations that occurred at Manitoulin Secondary School on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, was not racial in nature. What occurred following the incident, however, was racial in nature and this is most concerning to us.

“The event’s of the past week have caused us to reflect on how far we have come, where we are now and where we go from here. We respect the First Nations communities and have strengthened our resolve to work together for the benefit of all of our students.”

In April 2017, Rainbow District School Board passed a motion acknowledging the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and committing to key recommendations as they relate to education.

The board adopted the Truth and Reconciliation: Commitment to Action plan on July 3, 2018, a document the board says will guide their work in Indigenous education over the next five years.

“We have reached out to communities from Manitoulin Secondary School to join with us in a constructive dialogue,” added Dewar. “We remain committed to truth and reconciliation and to continuing to build understanding in a spirit of mutual respect.”

Full text of the Rainbow Board's statement:

Board reaffirms its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Rainbow District School Board today reaffirmed its commitment to Truth and Reconciliation and will continue to focus on moving forward in a positive way with First Nations communities.

“We do not tolerate violence, discrimination or racism in our schools,” said board chair Doreen Dewar. “The incident that triggered the series of altercations that occurred at Manitoulin Secondary School on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, was not racial in nature. What occurred following the incident, however, was racial in nature and this is most concerning to us.”

She added: “The event’s of the past week have caused us to reflect on how far we have come, where we are now and where we go from here. We respect the First Nations communities and have strengthened our resolve to work together for the benefit of all of our students."

In April 2017, Rainbow District School Board passed a motion acknowledging the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and committing to key recommendations as they relate to education.

Under the guidance of the First Nations Advisory Committee and through broad community consultations, the Truth and Reconciliation: Commitment to Action plan was developed. The plan, which was adopted by the board on July 3, 2018, will guide the board’s work in indigenous education over the next five years.

“We have reached out to communities from Manitoulin Secondary School to join with us in a constructive dialogue,” added Dewar. “We remain committed to truth and reconciliation and to continuing to build understanding in a spirit of mutual respect.”




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