bishop mcnally

Students walk out of class at Calgary high school over racism accusations

Students at a school in Calgary organized a walkout to demand the Calgary Catholic School District take action against racism in its schools. 

On Thursday, hundreds of Bishop McNally High School students walked out of class after two recordings of staff from the school district using the N-word began circulating online. 

One incident occurred about two weeks ago at St. Michael School where four students were suspended for recording their principal without her knowledge. At the time, the school board said that this violated the student code of conduct. 

The second incident took place at Bishop McNally sometime in the past two years, although the video of a substitute teacher speaking to Black students and using the N-word was only shared online recently.

Students at the walkout put together a list of demands for the school district including the development of an anti-racism task force, anti-racism training for students and staff, and acknowledgement of past failures.

The walkout ended near the city police headquarters where students issues they notice at school and in the community with senior Constable Craig Collins who is the hate-crime coordinator for the Calgary Police Service

Walkouts also occurred at dozens of other high schools across the city and the Catholic school district board told CBC that it was aware of the demonstrations.

"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,"chief superintendent Bryan Szumlas said in an email.

While students were not prevented from leaving class, they were marked as an unexcused absence. 

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