N.S. Educator Proposes All-Black School

CBC News, April 28, 2006

A black educator in Halifax suggests a school exclusively for black students will help them thrive.

Wade Smith, vice-principal at St. Patrick’s High School, said the education system is failing black students.

“Putting forward the notion of a black school is something that people might not be comfortable with because it suggests that things aren’t working. Then I think you have to look at the possibility of a black school as something positive, that’s good for our culture and good for our people,” he said.

This week, the Halifax Regional School Board heard that it is still failing to fully handle the needs of African-Nova Scotian students.

The board’s African-Nova Scotian advisory committee found that students and parents often feel picked on or isolated at their schools. They also say there is not enough diversity among teachers and administrators.

The minister for African-Nova Scotian Affairs, Barry Barnet, said the idea of moving black students into another school strikes him as a step backwards.

“I don’t believe that a segregated school is necessarily the kind of solution that may create a positive learning environment,” Barnet said.

Barnet said this department will not consider the change at this time.

Of the thousands of black Nova Scotians he’s met, the minister added, no one has ever asked for a separate school. But Smith said at this point, drastic action may be the only way to help black students succeed.

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