Hidden racial slur sparks recall of hundreds of yearbooks from Quebec high school

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MONTREAL – A suburban Montreal high school has recalled greater than 900 yearbooks after a racial slur was discovered hidden in a scholar biography.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board mentioned that for one graduate’s entry, the biography included a collection of phrases separated by commas, with the primary letters of the phrases forming a slur. The school board says two college students from Macdonald High School in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., have been liable for the entry.

The board condemned the scholars’ actions as “extremely inappropriate and unacceptable” in an announcement Sunday.

“We cannot let racist attitudes of any kind go unchecked,” the board mentioned.

Board spokesperson Darren Becker mentioned on Monday the slur went unnoticed through the modifying course of earlier than the books have been printed and distributed, however he mentioned folks took observe on social media on the finish of final week. He mentioned, “It’s extremely subtle the way they went about it.”

“It’s extremely unfortunate that this is how these two students decided to leave their school, to start a new chapter of their lives,” Becker mentioned. “Disappointing isn’t even strong enough.”

Becker mentioned the 2021-22 yearbooks will probably be edited to take away the offending passage and returned to college students. The college students concerned will face disciplinary motion, though Becker declined to touch upon what measures could be taken.

Fo Niemi, govt director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, a Montreal-based civil rights group, welcomed the board’s response.

“By taking swift and firm actions to condemn the racist act and its author, and to remove the offensive hateful passage in the yearbook, the (school board) deserves praise,” Niemi mentioned Monday in an e-mail.

Niemi mentioned the incident reveals the necessity for ongoing vigilance from school officers, lecturers, mother and father and college students.

“Racism is often subtle and pervasive in education, and it’s bound to occur,” Niemi mentioned.

“All school boards should pay serious attention to racism, especially anti-Black racism, and invest in effective measures to combat and prevent it as much as possible — because they owe children of colour and their parents a racism-free learning environment.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed on June 13, 2022.

This story was produced with the monetary help of the Meta and Canadian Press news Fellowship.

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