Friday January 22, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 11:10 am January 23, 2021 and January 26, 2021 at 10:05 am]
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
UPDATE January 26, 2021: West Shore RCMP says they are investigating two separate incidents of graffiti that took place in the last week in the West Shore area: the spray painting at a school construction site in Westhills on January 21, and an incident of spray painting on trees in Royal Roads Park in Colwood. People who have tips may contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or direct to the West Shore RCMP detachment at 250-474-2264.
Early Friday evening, the Sooke School District (SD62) issued a statement about some recent graffiti found displayed in Langford in the west shore. This is the second incident in as many days.
Today’s graffiti was discovered on a retaining wall for the future sports field at the construction site of the two new schools being built on Constellation Avenue in Westhills (near Westshore Parkway near Langford Lake): red spray paint appears to have been used to present “White Lives Matter” partway up the retaining wall. This is evidently a backlash to the “Black Lives Matter” messaging that has reached prominence in the last year in particular.
So far there is no indication of who exactly defaced the wall. But SD62 says it has been cleaned off. “The School District is looking at designs for fencing or planting deterrent vegetation to keep people out of that section,” it was stated by SD62 administration the next day.
The official construction start at the school site took place on November 5, 2020 — one of the first official media events held by SD62 since the pandemic hit in March last year.
Comments from SD62:
The SD62 Board of Education condemns the messages of hate that have been displayed in recent days in Langford, it was stated in the release at 5:15 pm. The statement was not signed by any particular board member and no trustee names were mentioned.
“Last June, our Board signed a provincial declaration that we would always stand up and speak out about any all acts of discrimination. Racism and bigotry have no place in the Sooke School District or our communities. We work together to take a stand against hatred, to respect and celebrate diversity and to actively oppose racism and violence in all forms.”
And then there is some reaching out: “To the people who feel oppressed: feel our strength, we stand with you and will be your voice.”
“To the people who feel such rage and hatred for others: deep down, we know you are better than your actions,” it was stated by SD62. “We ask that you consider how your actions impact the people in your community.”
“We are a school district that consistently strives to do better, to work with our students, staff, peers and partners to embrace the differences that make us who we are. We also know that we can and will do more.”
“We encourage everyone to join us in this self-call to action and pledge to oppose race-based violence and discrimination in all its forms. We are diverse, we are strong, and we will uphold our Canadian values in the face of hatred.”
Next board meeting:
The next SD62 board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday January 26 at 7 pm (livestreamed), at which time there could very well be a comment about this by the board chair or superintendent.