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Kamloops  

Racism = right wing?

An assignment that asked students at a high school in Kamloops to identify the political leanings of racists and immigration opponents showed a bias against people with right-wing views, says a father whose son was given the worksheet.

Matt deFouw said he took his concerns about the worksheet to the Kamloops-Thompson School District, which launched an investigation.

B.C.'s Education Ministry said in a statement Thursday the worksheet is not part of the school curriculum and it will not be used again in the district.

"Essentially, all the questions on only one piece of paper paint people, even right-of-centre people, as xenophobic, misogynist racists who want to enact a brutal police state that wiretaps and executes its citizens," deFouw said in an interview.

He posted the worksheet from his son's Grade 10 social studies class on his Facebook page. The school district confirmed that it was part of an assignment at Valleyview Secondary School.

"One question is, 'Who is a racist?' " said deFouw. "And the answer is right-wing people. That's about as clear as you need to be. Another example of a question was, 'Who believes that women should stay home and be mothers?' The answer is right wing."

The assignment included 10 questions. DeFouw's Facebook post included the answers provided to the students by their teacher.

Those on the left wing were identified as "A person who believes that Canada should send aid to Third World countries" and "A person who believes that the school strap should be abolished."

The district released a statement from the school principal dated Oct. 2 that was sent to deFouw. It says there was a meeting with the teacher and "although there was no intent to cause confusion for students, the teacher acknowledged that the Social Studies worksheet did not present a balanced view of the political spectrum and it was an over simplification of a very complex issue."

Bill Hamblett, the school district's assistant superintendent, said its investigation is ongoing and will include interviews with the teacher and the student.

"Racism doesn't belong to one political stripe," said Hamblett. "We're well aware of that."

He said he hadn't heard from the Education Ministry that the worksheet should not be used again, but "if they are saying that, that makes sense."

DeFouw said officials from the school district spoke with his son Thursday and he's pleased his concerns were taken seriously.



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