Following the video of a fight at a high school in Duncan, the community’s mayor and other leaders have issued a joint statement regarding racism in the Cowichan Valley.
The video of a vicious fight between two students at Cowichan Secondary School on Monday has been circulating on Facebook.
Some First Nations parents worried the fight was fuelled, at least in part, by racism.
In the statement released Thursday, Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, Municipality of North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure, Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour and Katie McLaughlin of the Cowichan Valley School District said they had a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the “growing conversation and concern about racism in our diverse community.”
The group plans to develop measures for additional programs and services for a more inclusive place to live in.
The community groups said school-based sessions involving Elders and prominent community members will take place in schools before the winter break and continue in the new year. The work will be supported by Cowichan Tribes staff, the school district and local community agencies.
"We do not want racism to define our community. The solution to this issue is one that we collectively have a role in. Individuals also have a role to play in creating tolerant and inclusive communities, and that starts with choosing to treat each other with kindness and understanding. We have come a long way, but we still have work to do," the statement said.
"Together, we want to be clear—racism in our schools, and in our community, is simply not acceptable. We are committed to working together on this issue as we build safe, healthy, and caring communities for our children and our future generations."
On Thursday afternoon, Cowichan Secondary School posted a picture of the two boys involved in the fight. The school said the boys wanted people to know they are rugby teammates and are "good with each other." The school said for the two boys, it was not about race.
"It is over," the Facebook post said.