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Anti-Black slur left on school sign in Summerland

Incident occurred overnight Sept 9 to 10
An anti-Black slur was added underneath the words Welcome Back at the Summerland Secondary School sign. The slur has been blurred in this photo. The incident occurred overnight Sept. 9 to 10 and the vandalism was removed on the morning of Sept. 10. (Photo by Toni Boot)

Vandals put an anti-Black racist slur on a sign board at Summerland Secondary School overnight on Sept. 9 to 10.

The vandalism was on a sign board with movable letters and added the slur to the school’s Welcome Back message.

Former mayor Toni Boot, who reported the incident to the school district and the Summerland RCMP, believes the incident was planned. Reaching the sign board would have required a ladder or another structure, as the sign is not within reach from the ground.

In addition, Boot believes those responsible for the slur likely used new lettering to put the word on the sign.

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Linda Van Alphen, a Summerland trustee with the Okanagan Skaha School Board, said the slur was removed quickly.

Boot, who is Black, said incidents of this nature need to be made public.

“People need to know this is happening,” she said. “It only makes matters worse if it’s hidden.”

Summerland has had other hate-based incidents in recent months.

On Aug. 26, an anti-Black slur was spray painted on one of the community’s two rainbow crosswalks.

On June 10, a racist slur was found spray-painted on a wall at Summerland Secondary School and on the wall of the school’s tennis courts. Overnight on July 1 to 2, the Pride flag on display at Summerland United Church was torn down.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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