UPDATED: Propaganda posters are found posted at two Waterloo High Schools
Administrators at two high schools in Waterloo were met with signs donning the phrase “It’s okay to be white” when they walked in to school this passed Monday.
Students and faculty at both Eastwood Collegiate Institute and Grand River Collegiate Institute were surprised to see the signage promoting white nationalism plastered on the doors of their respective schools.
“Our custodians noticed them when they arrived to school and made sure to begin the process of taking them down right away,” Nick Manning, chief communications officer for the Waterloo Region District School Board said.
“We are obviously disappointed and concerned to see those posters appear at two of our schools on Monday morning.”
This incident follows closely after a similar trend that has been sweeping across North America, according to the Washington Post, who recently reported on the appearance of similar signage across various cities and campuses in Canada and the Unite States.
“These kinds of things are not appropriate or acceptable on our school properties when we are trying to build safe and inclusive schools for students in the Waterloo region.”
The idea to distribute the posters appears to have originated from an anonymous Canadian contributor on 4chan, who encouraged readers to don “silly halloween costume [sic] for anonymity” and print out the previously mentioned posters from their website in order to distribute “on campuses (and elsewhere) across the world on halloween night.”
The original post on 4chan noted that the “game plan” was to provide “proof of concept” that an otherwise allegedly benign message would cause a “media shitstorm [sic].”
Posters with the phrasing have reportedly been spotted on campuses in Edmonton and Saskatoon as well as the University of Toronto and, according to Global News, the library at Ryerson University.
In a statement released to The Record, Laurier spokesperson Kevin Crowley confirmed that posters were put up without permission on Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus and quickly removed by campus police.
University of Waterloo’s spokesperson, Matthew Grant confirmed the appearance of the posters on the UW campus to The Record as well.
The Waterloo District School Board has taken steps to address the situation with students who were affected by the posters, but they have passed the investigation on to the police and are allowing them to decide whether or not charges should be filed.
“We’ve taken immediate action and in some cases we’ve been looking at video to see which students were exposed to those posters,” Manning said. “We’ve reported both incidents to the police and it will really be for the police to decide if any criminal activities happened and whether we can identify who put them up.”
“We’ll work with the police on that but our focus is on reassuring our school communities that our schools are safe for everyone that comes to them,” he said.
Manning also expressed concern on the behalf of the school board, noting it’s focus on inclusivity.
“These kinds of things are not appropriate or acceptable on our school properties when we are trying to build safe and inclusive schools for students in the Waterloo region,” he said.
“We’re the public board of education and that means we are for everybody, no matter what your background.”
This article was updated on Nov. 9 at 1:25 p.m.