Victoria school board apologizes 100 years after China segregation policy

The Greater Victoria School Board has issued an apology to Chinese Canadians some 100 years after the school board decided to segregate young Chinese students into the public school system.

In 1907, the school board began requiring Chinese students to take an English exam to attend public schools, a policy that was legally challenged by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

Then, in the summer of 1922, the school board passed a resolution that segregated all Chinese students through seventh grade.

When school started in September, school district principals removed Chinese students from their classrooms and accompanied them to the Chinese Public School on Kings Road, according to a joint statement from the school board and Victoria Chinatown. Museum Society.

During the march, Chinese students refused to continue and protested the action, leading to a strike supported by the Chinese Canadian Club, Chinese Commerce Association and Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

“What started as a school boycott has grown into a protest movement for equality that has brought together the Chinese community at the local, regional and national levels, from county and clan associations to individuals,” said the president of the Victoria Chinatown Museum Society, Alan Lowe, in a statement Friday.

“Those of us of Chinese descent who were born and raised in Victoria were able to attend public schools because of those who came before us,” he said.

On September 5, community members will hold a memorial march at George Jay School and retrace the steps of the original Chinese student protest march, marking the 100th anniversary of the event.

The school board says it is working with the Chinese-Canadian community to ensure this moment is commemorated in current schools.

“Among a long list of historic wrongs perpetuated against the Chinese community of Victoria, this stands out as an especially grim incident for our school district,” council chairman Ryan Painter said in a statement Friday.

“The Greater Victoria School Board apologizes for the actions of its former Trustees and former Board Chairman, George Jay. The racist discrimination that led to this act is unacceptable and viewed with regret,” Painter said.

The march starts at 10.30am Monday outside George Jay School to Kings Road at Wark Street.

Comments are closed.