An unidentified Calgary Catholic school teacher has been captured on video using the N-word while talking about candy with students at a high school.
- WARNING: Language in this story may be upsetting to some readers.
The video, which has been circulating among students at Bishop McNally High School and shared now with CTV, appears to show a female teacher describing what she used to call black licorice candy.
The video — which was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools — is only five seconds long, but it begins with a woman saying “they were three for a penny,” before a student asks her to clarify what she called them when she was younger.
She responded, “they were N***** babies.”
“I felt sick to my stomach,” said Marion Ashton, executive director of Sankofa Arts and Music, an organization that helps to eliminate barriers that limit opportunities for black youth.
“It made me sad, that this woman, decided to resurface a disgusting piece of history.”
Ashton says this video is just the latest that has had an impact on the black community within the Calgary Catholic school division.
Last week, a recording of principal Lianne Anderson at St. Michael’s elementary school was heard saying “so how come it’s okay for you to say the word N*****” in a conversation directed at a group of students of colour.”
“I don’t call them schools anymore, they are trauma zones for black children,” said Ashton.
“Why is this happening, why is it that, some of us fail to evolve.”
Michael Embaie is the president of the African Community Association and says there is a deep-rooted problem within Calgary school systems, when it comes to hiring people of colour to teach students.
“My daughter goes to a Catholic school system in Calgary, and really I get upset,” Embaie said.
“When my daughter goes to school, she doesn’t see any person like her, or a teacher or principal.”
The Calgary Catholic School Division, which only learned about the incident this week through CTV’s inquiries, would only say it’s investigating.
The board said the St. Michael’s principal was not directed to provide an apology after last week’s incident, citing that it was a teaching moment, and the comments were taken out of context.
“This is an unfortunate isolated incident that we apologize for. We are very regretful that it came across the way it did because that was not the intent,” said Tania Van Brunt, communications director for CSSD, to CTV at the time.
For Ashton, she hopes to see change from within the school system that she believes will improve the situation for children of colour.
“When black children are harmed, we quickly default to questioning their credibility, but what did they do,” she said.