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Race Relations, Cross- Cultural Understanding and Human Rights: PSS 257





Race Relations, Cross- Cultural Understanding and Human Rights: PSS 257

Adoption Date: September 26, 2011










The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board recognizes that Cape Breton is a society composed of people from many different backgrounds and this diversity will continue. The participation and contribution of our staff, students, parents, school volunteers, and community partners in the development of our community is vital to meeting the challenges of the future.


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board has a responsibility to develop lifelong learners through a balanced, positive program that fosters intellectual, physical, emotional, and moral development. The Board’s policy on Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights (RCH) represents the Board’s commitment to a positive learning and working environment. The Board’s commitment in this area will be achieved through the provision of educational services within an environment that values, celebrates, and respects diversity.




This policy applies to all staff and students, parents, school volunteers, and community partners under the jurisdiction of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.





The purpose of this policy is to promote Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights through education in a positive, safe learning environment. 


Policy Statement


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board will work with staff, students, parents, school volunteers, and community partners to create an inclusive community.  An inclusive community promotes ethnocultural diversity, dignity and respect. This establishes an environment where individuals live to their full potential, without facing racism or discrimination.


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board recognizes a responsibility to ensure no acts of discrimination or harassment occur in accordance with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.  (See Appendix 1)  Students, staff, board members, or anyone associated with the Board shall not be discriminated against nor commit any form of discrimination.  The education system should be committed to fair and equitable participation and benefit by all people in Nova Scotia.[1]


The Board will take an active role in eliminating all manifestations of discrimination.



Cross Reference


Nova Scotia Education Act 1995-1996

Nova Scotia Human Rights Act 1991

Department of Education Racial Equity Policy 2002

Employment Equity Policy HR 303

Respectful Working and Learning Environment Policy HR 309




The policy has been authorized by the Board under motions number 2011.09.29.





It is the responsibility of all directors of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board to ensure that this policy and administrative procedures are implemented.


The Coordinator of Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights will manage the policy and apply administrative procedures.





The Coordinators of all departments will implement the policy and administrative procedures.





1.         The Board will not tolerate any expression of discrimination or harassment and will undertake an active role in eliminating such practices.


2.         The Board will actively encourage measures to educate students, employees, parents, board members, and the community of the policy of no acceptance of discrimination or harassment, and the hurt and damage caused by discrimination or harassment.


3.         The board will create sufficient educational measures to support a culturally sensitive environment within its jurisdiction. The Board therefore will investigate and resolve any complaints of harassment.  The   Board will provide appropriate counselling and support to the victim(s).  The Board will also provide counselling and, if necessary, appropriate disciplinary measures to the person(s) causing the harassment. The Board will continue to create mediation processes designed to assist students and staff in resolving incidents of racial, ethnocultural, sexual and homophobic harassment.





4.         It is the responsibility of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board to ensure that:


a)         consistent measures are taken to address any suspected incident/complaint of discrimination or harassment without any presumption of guilt, innocence, or vindictiveness.  Any individual maintains the right to bring forward a concern or complaint without fear of reprisal;


b)                  reports of incidents/complaints will be accepted verbally and subsequently in written form and can be based on the observations of the complainant or designate (i.e. friend), or on the observations of a board employee, student, or visitor, and will follow the complaint /incident process outlined below.


5.                   The complaint/incident process will be carried out in the following manner:


a)                   staff will either immediately intervene and/or report the incident to the appropriate Board administrative staff;


b)                  the principal/designate of each school is responsible for the receipt, investigation, resolution, and documentation of each case.  If the incident takes place on board property or during school sanctioned activities, the supervisory staff of each department shall assume the same responsibilities toward the incident/complaint as are recorded to the principal of a school;


c)                   all incidents are documented and an incident report must be submitted to RCH Coordinator within 48 hours; (RCH Incident Report Form - Appendix 2)


d)                  suspensions resulting from an RCH incident will be directed to the Coordinator of School Services who will communicate with the RCH Coordinator;


e)                   all involved parties will be informed of the Board’s decision; depending on the nature of the incident/complaint discipline can include a letter of warning or reprimand, suspension, banning from school or Board property, dismissal, or referral to the appropriate law enforcement  agency;


f)                   if the complaint is determined to be without merit and has been lodged for vindictive reasons, the complaint will be entered on the file of the complainant; the victimized individual will be notified of the Board’s decision and counseled.


6.         All schools must have a Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights Liaison Representative.  The purpose of the Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights Liaison Representative is educational only.



7.         Curriculum


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board supports the development of curriculum that is sensitive and respectful to all learners and accurately reflects the reality of the diverse educational community. (Appendix 3)


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board recognizes that an equitable curriculum is based on:


a)         the fundamental belief in the inherent and inalienable rights of all persons to dignity, respect, security, worth, and social justice. 2


b)         pedagogical approaches that encourage learners to communicate effectively without obscuring or submerging their human rights.


c)         learning resources including books, multi-media and other formats purchased by the Board which reflect current knowledge as well as achievements, symbols, and accurate images that promote respect and positive attitudes of our diverse educational community.  This applies to all supplementary learning resources brought into the classroom.


d)         learning resources utilized in the classroom that contribute to feelings of self-worth in all students,

promote respect, and encourage positive attitudes towards the contributions and cultural values of our diverse educational community.


e)         learning resources that include curriculum that includes perspectives on social justice and the inequalities in the legal system which have been experienced by our diverse educational community.


f)                   learning resources that include focus on more instruction in the area of local settlement patterns and immigration history such as Mi’kmaq, Acadian, African Nova Scotian experiences and contributions.


g)         curriculum development regarding race, ethnic relations and sexual orientation that is  interdisciplinary and integrated with a program that is cross-curricular in nature.


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board shall review all learning and supplementary materials on an ongoing basis to determine that they accurately and appropriately reflect the Nova Scotia Department of Education Bias Evaluation Form. (Appendix 4)

























2 (Nova Scotia Department of Education Racial Equity Policy, March 2002.)


8.         Student Assessment and Placement


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board commits itself to actively pursuing assessment and placement practices which will ensure that all students have access to and an opportunity to maximize their full potential and recognizes that:


a)                   assessment practices consider our diverse educational community. 


b)                  the RCH policy applies to all policies, guidelines, and procedures pertinent to the development, administration, scoring, and reporting of assessment conducted by the Board.


c)                   consideration be given to testing instruments, placement, counseling, programming, monitoring, parental contact, regular classroom evaluation and curriculum.


d)                  student assessment and placement practices provide accessibility to formal and informal programs.





The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board supports a process in which all stakeholders associated with the Board need to be informed and sensitized to our diverse educational community.  All stakeholders must comprehend the adverse affects that are caused by negative attitudes.   The goal is to create a school community in which racism and/or discrimination is not acceptable and never goes unchallenged.  


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board recognizes that:


§  we live in an independent society and world where people of every culture live, work and share their experiences.


§  although we live interdependently, we all have been exposed to and/or influenced by negative bias or stereotypes related to culture.


§  opportunities for professional development for Board Members, employees and students will provide additional knowledge, sensitivity and skills necessary for the promotion of positive race relations, ethnocultural understanding and human rights.


§  opportunities for professional development do not in themselves change attitudes but can show that racism and discrimination do have malicious intent and are often founded upon historical, social, political, economic, and cultural factors.   


The Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board shall:


a)                   encourage students, members, and employees of the Board to identify areas in which cultural sensitivity is needed.


b)                  create opportunities for all board employees, members, and students to develop their knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity in race-relations, cross-cultural understanding and human rights education.


c)                   provide ongoing system-wide professional development for teachers with a focus on sensitization to different cultural and racial experiences, as well as awareness of effective cross-cultural teaching and learning styles.


d)                  provide ongoing staff development at the school level,  for teaching and non-teaching personnel, pertaining to specific aspects, stages and implementation of the Board Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights Policy.


e)                   support the establishment of clubs (GLBT - gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender; Gay/Straight Alliance; multicultural societies) reflective of the Board’s diverse learning community. As requested by students and staff, incorporate race relations and multicultural training as part of leadership programs offered to student and staff leaders.



It is essential that schools reflect on their day-to-day operations and their co-curricular activities to identify and eliminate those policies and practices, which, while not intentionally discriminatory, have a discriminatory effect.



PERSONNEL POLICIES AND PRACTICES  (this section to be addressed in Employment Equity Policy and policy to be reviewed and revised in concert with this policy).


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is committed to an employment equity policy which treats all job applicants and employees without prejudice or discrimination on any grounds prohibited by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act and Employment Equity Policy of the Board.  It further develops practices which reflect the understanding, appreciation and respect for all employees including those characteristics  protected from discrimination as set out in clauses (h) to (v) of subsection (1) of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act:


h)                  age

i)                    race

j)                    color

k)                  religion

l)                    creed

m)                sex

n)                  sexual orientation

o)                  physical or mental disability

p)                  an irrational fear of contacting an illness or disease

q)                  ethnic, national or first nations origin

r)                   family status

s)                   marital status

t)                    source of income

u)                  political belief, affiliation or activity

v)                   that individual’s association with another individual or class of individuals having characteristics referred to in clauses (h) to (u)







The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is committed to the active promotion of race relations, cross-cultural understanding and respect for human rights with all members of the school community. 


The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board shall actively:


a)                   pursue significant participation and interaction of communities of those persons reflected in clauses (h) to (v) of subsection 1 of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act (see Appendix 5)  and Two-Spirited communities in the Board’s schools, committees, and programs including the Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights Advisory Committee.


b)                  consult, encourage and assist the diverse educational communities to share their concerns on Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights programming and educational initiatives.


c)                   support practices which provide better access and services to all.


d)                  establish, in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, a system to collect, on a regular basis, data on all students with applicable characteristics reflected in clauses (h) to (v) of subsection 1 of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act (see Appendix 5)  so that the Board can better provide services and support.



e)                   pursue adequate  funding on a continuous basis from various sources for Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding and Human Rights education projects and programming.


f)                   establish a community services list in co-operation and collaboration with community groups reflected in clauses (h) to (v) of subsection 1 of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act (see Appendix 5).  The list will be circulated to all Board staff as a resource for improving linkages with the community.


g)                  be sensitive and respectful of our diverse educational community and encourage parents to share their concerns regarding their children’s  progress and express their opinions on how the educational experiences of their child/children can be enhanced.


h)                  invite speakers from our diverse educational community into the schools to make presentations.


i)                    facilitate the communities’ use of school space during and after school hours.


j)                   seek better partnerships with the diverse educational communities and use the expertise available within the local professional and educational community.



The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board is committed to supporting action towards making our schools and society equitable and free of discrimination. Through the completion of a Student Self-Identification Form, the Board and its Race Relations, Cross-Cultural Understanding, and Human Rights Division will have greater awareness of the diversity within the Board. This will promote student access to scholarships, equity programs/initiatives, or events geared towards specific populations. In addition, information on our school populations will help identify system needs, channel resources, and determine where supports such as Student Support Workers might best be placed. The use of this information will comply with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Cape Breton -Victoria Regional School Board policies and procedures relating to the confidentiality of personal information.


Associated Forms


Nova Scotia Human Rights Act (Appendix 1)

RCH Incident Report Form (Appendix 2)

Definitions of Terms (Appendix 3)

Nova Scotia Provincial Biases Form (Appendix 4)

Nova Scotia Human Rights Act: subsection (1) clauses (h) to (v)  (Appendix 5)



Policy Review              


This policy will be reviewed by the Director of Programs and Student Services within three years from the authorization date.





Board Members

All Policy Manual Holders









Nova Scotia Human Rights Act
























































Date of Incident_________________________ Time: _______________________

School: ____________________________________________________________


1. Complainant: _____________________________________________________

Grade/Position: ______________________________________________________



2. Offender(s): ______________________________________________________

Grade/Position: ______________________________________________________

Grade/Position: ______________________________________________________

Grade/Position: ______________________________________________________


3. Type of Violation: __________________________________________________



4. Witnesses (those who saw or heard the incident):

Name: ______________________________________________________________

Grade/Position: _______________________________________________________


Name: ______________________________________________________________

Grade/Position: _______________________________________________________


Name: _______________________________________________________________

Grade/Position: ________________________________________________________


5. To whom was the case first reported?______________________________________________________________


6. Describe the incident, including any factual information and physical evidence (attach any additional, pertinent pages):






7. First Time Offender ______ Offended Before (This Year) ________


8. Names of parent(s)/guardian(s) notified and method of contact: ________________________________________________________________________________________


9. Classification of Complaint: Substantiated ______ Unable to Substantiate _______


10. Corrective/Disciplinary Action(s):




11. Educational and Proactive Measures:




12. Outline support given the complainant to deal with emotional feelings (anger, humiliation, embarrassment, fear of reprisal): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



13. Complaint was resolved at the school level to the satisfaction of the complainant and his/her parents? Yes____ No_____


14. The RCH School Advisor has been informed of this incident? Yes _____ No _____


15. Complaint requires further investigation by the RCH Coordinator? Yes _____ No _____



Signature of Principal/Designate _________________________________________________


Date __________________________




Procedure for Recording and Reporting RCH Incidents


1.                   Use this form to record all instances of Racial or Human Rights harassment involving students.


2.                   This form is to be filled out and the investigation is to be conducted by the Principal or designate.


3.                   All students and staff involved in the incident are to complete an "RCH INCIDENT – INDIVIDUAL                            SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT" (to be attached).


4.                   Attach any additional pertinent documents (school report forms, extended account of the event, etc.)


5.                   It is the duty of the Principal or designate to notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the Complainant and                            Offender(s) once the incident has been reported.


6.                   The RCH School Advisor is to be apprised of the details of the incident (not a requirement for                                   incidents involving staff).


7.                   Parents of the Complainant are to be informed of disciplinary, educational and proactive measures                             taken.


8.                   The Offender is to be counselled (guidance counsellor, principal, vice principal, RCH School Advisor,                       etc.) or, if necessary, referred for external counselling.


9.                   The Complainant is to be provided opportunity for counselling (guidance counsellor, Student Support                        Worker, RCH School Advisor, external agency, etc.).


10.               External and internal suspensions require relevant, educational assignments.


11.               Except for repeat or severe offences, disciplinary action for primary to grade 3 students should                                  exclude suspension.


12.               ALL FORMS ARE CONFIDENTIAL. The Principal must retain a copy and a copy is to be sent                             through inter-office mail, not faxed, to the RCH Coordinator at the Cape Breton Victoria Regional                           School Board central office on George Street.




14.               The “RCH Incident – Individual Supplementary Report” form is the account of the individual only,                            and should not be influenced by a parent, staff, or any other party. This does not preclude another                         party assisting by taking a dictation of the account by the very young student or student with limited                            writing skills.


15.               The Board must comply with the obligations under the Freedom of Information & Protection of                                Privacy Act (FOIPOP).


Race Relations, Cross Cultural Understanding, & Human Rights (RCH)

(To Be Attached to RCH Incident Report Form)


Name: ___________________________________ Grade/Position: ________________________

School: ______________________________________ Today's Date: ______________________

Date of Incident: __________________________________

Location of Incident: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Possible Witness(es): ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Description: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________















Signature Administrator/Designate Signature










Aboriginal People – Persons who identify themselves to be First Nations, Inuit, or Métis


Affirmative Action – Any plan or program designed to remove barriers to underrepresented groups, including but not limited to, Aboriginal people, African-Nova Scotia people, ethnocultural people, women, and people with disabilities.


African Nova Scotian – Persons who identify themselves to be of African descent or ancestry resident in Nova Scotia.


Community Partners – Any counterpart who has a vested interest in the day to day operations of our educational system. See also Stakeholders


Discrimination – is defined as making a distinction, whether intentional or not, based on characteristics of age, race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, an irrational fear of contracting an illness or disease, ethnic, national or aboriginal origin, family status, political belief, affiliation or activity.


Diverse Educational Community – encompasses all races, sexes, sexual orientation, abilities/challenges, education, geographic origin, age group, social class, family, religion, language, cultural background, and ethic group.


Employment Systems – Policies and practices used to attract, select, train, promote and compensate employees; establish and define the jobs; and determine the conditions of employment at the workplace.


Employment Equity – Comprehensive planning process designed to identify and eliminate discrimination in employment practices, policies, procedures and to remedy the effects of conscious or unconscious systemic barriers.


Ethnocultural People – Any individual or group of individuals who differ from the majority because of their racial, linguistic or cultural characteristics, their system of beliefs and their will to protect their cultural identity.


Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-Spirited or Questioning (GLBT) This encompasses Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-Spirited or Questioning individuals.


Harassment – Any behavior that is directed at and is offensive to an individual, or group based on that individual's or group's race, or culture, or ethnic, national or aboriginal origin etc. Such behavior may be verbal, physical, deliberate, or unsolicited. It may be one incident or a series of incidents.


Homophobic – The fear and hatred of homosexuality in others, often exhibited by prejudice, discrimination, bullying or acts of violence.


Inclusive community – A community that promotes equality, ethnocultural diversity, dignity and respect.


Persons with Disabilities – Persons who, for the purposes of employment, identify themselves or believe that an employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged due to long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric, or learning impairment.


Race – A social category used to classify humankind according to common ancestry or descent.


RCH – The acronym for race relations, cross cultural understanding and human rights.


Racial Incident - Refers to any verbal or physical action of negative attitudes, derogation or hate about a person or group because of race, creed, or culture.


Racism - The belief that people from one distinct group are superior to people of another group.


Religious pluralism - Effectively, the same as religious diversity.


Religious diversity - The number of different religious organizations available to join in a society.


Stakeholders - Any counterpart who has a vested interest in the day to day operations of our educational system. (See also community partners)


Stereotype - The attribution of supposed characteristics of a whole group to all its individual members.


Sexual Orientation – Personal attraction and/or relationship, including but not limited to, bisexual, gay, heterosexual, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, two-spirited, or questioning.


Two Spirited (need definition)

































Nova Scotia Department of Education Bias Evaluation Instrument












































Nova Scotia Human Rights Act

subsection (1) clauses (h) to (v) 




k)                  age

l)                    race

m)                color

n)                  religion

o)                  creed

p)                  sex

q)                  sexual orientation

r)                   physical or mental disability

s)                   an irrational fear of contacting an illness or disease

t)                    ethnic, national or first nations origin

u)                  family status


[1]              Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.  Revised 1989

See also
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