Unfortunately, yesterday an assignment question that was extremely insensitive was given to one of our students in the St. Paul Alternate Education Centre (SPAEC). The exact question was, “A positive effect of residential schools was?” Students were given four multiple choice options.
St. Paul Alternate Education Centre is a Jr./Sr. Outreach School where much of the course work is self-directed. Students work on various courses at their own pace with teacher support as required. Many of the resources that SPAEC uses are supplied and approved by Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) and are used by students across the province. The resources are pre-packaged, complete courses that include the readings, questions, and exams. It was in one of these pre-packaged courses that this question was found. We have made ADLC aware of this inappropriate content.
With that being said, it is our duty as teachers to preview all the materials that are presented to our students on an ongoing basis. We are removing the inappropriate content from the resources we use to teach. We accept and take full responsibility for the use of this inappropriate material and for that we are deeply sorry.
Whether it be as an educator, or more importantly, as a Canadian citizen, we all need to recognize the impact of residential schools. I can’t imagine what it was like to be in a residential school, nor would I ever speak on behalf of survivors. It is their story to tell. It is our job to support these survivors and correct the wrongs from the past. The students that we serve on a daily basis are really 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation survivors and we must continue to recognize the impact of residential schools on families.
We are eager for the new curriculum that is currently under development province-wide. All students need to learn more about the history and legacy of residential schools to better understand the plight of the Indigenous people. Currently, all Grade 10 students from across our division participate in a tour of the Blue Quills Residential School led by a survivor. All of our Grade 7 students take part in the Karos Blanket Exercise which gives a history of colonization. All division staff are required to participate in both exercises and are involved in additional professional learning activities surrounding Truth and Reconciliation. We fully realize that we have much work yet to be done.
We are proud to serve students and their families from our four neighboring First Nations. Our goal in sharing the details of this incident is to be fully open and honest. Again, I accept responsibility for this action and I am sorry.
If you have any further questions, please contact me at our Central Office (780-645-3323) or on my cell phone (780-227-0340).
Superintendent of Schools