The Greater Victoria School District and Saanich Police are investigating racist, violent messages posted to an online yearbook for Mount Douglas Secondary. (Google Streetview)

School district, Saanich police investigate racist, violent online yearbook comments

Mount Douglas Secondary yearbook taken down after derogatory messages posted

Racist, derogatory comments in an online high school yearbook have prompted an investigation from Saanich police and the Greater Victoria School District.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Mount Douglas Secondary were given the opportunity to have their yearbook signed by peers online through the Jostens website. Students were able to sign up for virtual yearbook pages and received a link to send to friends so they could sign them. A message from the yearbook committee that was posted on June 3 on the school’s website advised students to not share their link publicly and only send it to friends.

On June 7, Saanich police received a report that hate messages had been posted on a virtual yearbook through Mount Douglas Secondary, according to Saanich Police Const. Markus Anastasiades.

“While the messages were disturbing, there were no direct threats made to any specific person and they were sent by an anonymous person,” Anastasiades said.

READ ALSO: Source says Saanich team’s code of silence hides bullying

Police have been in communication with the school district and the digital yearbook has since been closed.

The messages included anti-Semitic comments, an image of a swastika, derogatory comments about the Black and Chinese communities and comments about sexual violence and rape.

Greater Victoria School Board chair Jordan Watters said the district will launch a full investigation into the incident.

“There’s absolutely zero tolerance and it’s just super upsetting for everybody,” Watters said. “This has just been a challenging year all around and this was an effort to create something special and celebratory and capture end of year traditions that were cancelled due to COVID-19.”

READ ALSO: Racism is here too, say Victoria’s Black community leaders

Watters said a link to the yearbook pages were posted publicly by a student and that the school district will be looking at use of third party platforms moving forward.

Students who have been affected by the messages are also being offered support by way of school-based teams and counselling.

“Given what’s going on in the world, this is a reminder that [racism] is close to home as well and we all share a responsibility to counter it, especially in the education system,” Watters said. “It’s a learning opportunity.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

racismSaanich Police Departmentsd61

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Wheels in motion for Victoria bike network extension

Oak Bay council seeks inclusion on Richardson bike lane

Victoria archery club says goodbye to outdoor range in View Royal

Province-owned View Royal property will house handyDART facility

Saanich in driver’s seat for residential road speed reduction pilot project

District recruits 11 CRD municipalities to join pilot project to look at 40 km/h residential limit

Victoria baseball club opens Royal Athletic Park for public picnics

HarbourCats go ahead with annual sock toss for charity despite no games

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Surrey in rare position to redefine policing amid calls for defunding

The wheels were set in motion for the new police service in 2018

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

Most Read