School says increases in racism reports due to increases in student reporting

6 students standing and conversing under a blue overhang that is attached to a brown brick building. Animal silhouette shapes and other patterns adorn the blue overhang. The ground consists of a concrete walkway and grass.
Students of PECI. Photo courtesy of the PECI official Facebook page.
Craig Foster - CJPE - PictonON | 09-05-2023
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A small town school in rural Ontario has seen a spike in reports of racism on the playground in recent weeks, enough that school administrators sent a letter to parents outlining their policies and strategies last week.

At Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (PECI), a school in the county that houses both elementary and high school students, there has been a rash of reports of verbal racial abuse recently. But according to school officials, it might not be an increase in incidents but an increase in cases being reported.

Principal Andrew Ross says the school has been promoting a more collaborative approach to combating the issue, and students are getting more comfortable reporting incidents as they arise. In fact, in some cases, students have taken matters into their own hands, a practice that is strongly discouraged by the school board.

But Ross says as students get more comfortable in reporting through proper channels, they may see more cases reported before they see less. Hastings District School Board Superintendent Tina Elliot says the issue is not isolated to PECI, that the problem has surfaced at a number of rural schools as they become more multi-cultural.

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