The Winnipeg School Division is on Treaty One territory, home to Métis Nation, Dene, Anishinaabe, Dakota, Cree, and Oji-Cree. Brad Badiuk (who is currently on paid leave after complaints were made about Badiuk’s posts on social media against Indigenous peoples on social media) is a teacher for that school division.
His comments included: “Stop the hand outs!! The benefits the aboriginals enjoy from the “white man/Europeans” far outweigh any wrongdoings that were done to a concured people” and “Get to work, tear the treaties [up] and shut the FKup already. My ancestor [sic] migrated here early 1900s they didn’t do anything. Why am I on the hook for their cultural support?”
He went as far as to post that “Indians have no money” and that getting [Indian] hands on [non-Indian] money is what Indigenous peoples are after.
Allegedly Brad Badiuk is of the opinion that Indigenous peoples “have contributed nothing or very little to the development of Canada. Just standing their [sic] with their hand out.”
While it’s true that people have a right to their opinions (no matter how incorrect and flawed they may be), when someone like a teacher — someone in a position of authority — holds an opinion that’s racist, that racism can’t help but spill over into his or her teaching duties.
Students at Kelvin High School are asking themselves how a teacher with negative, racist attitudes about Indigenous peoples can be expected to be fair when grading the tests, assignments, and papers of students who are Aboriginal.
When the “Status of Racism and Discrimination in Winnipeg” was prepared for the Winnipeg Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) in 2012, it reported that many Aboriginals feel looked down upon and unwelcome in Winnipeg. It reported that social exclusion was a direct result of “frequent experiences of racist remarks” among other negatively impacting factors.
Now, it’s been said that Brad Badiuk is a nice guy who is well liked by most of the student population, and that seems to be the case on ratemyteachers.com where parents are pointing out that low ratings are being removed while the more complimentary ratings remain. Still, even in light of positive comments, we have to keep in mind that whenever a crime is committed and neighbors are interviewed, they almost invariably say that the suspect was such a nice person, and they can’t believe that the suspect would be guilty of the crimes that are attributed to the suspect.
The juxtaposition of the CMARD report against this teacher’s comments on social media underscores the serious concerns many have about the impact this will have, not only on students, but on the community overall. Surely this teacher will empower students who individually, and perhaps within their family, also hold racist views against Indigenous peoples. Will this give such students the added incentive they need to either continue targeting Aboriginal students or ramp up their abuse of Aboriginal students?
Already on Facebook, on the CBC page, there are comments such as these popping up in support of Brad Badiuk’s comments on social media.
Todd Andres is a privacy lawyer who informed mainstream media that there have been a number of cases where comments posted to social media have been grounds for discipline by employers. It doesn’t matter when those comments were posted, whether during work hours or on personal time.
And long before there was social media, a precedent was set about teachers wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group. Back in 1984, Jim Keegstra lost his teaching certificate for his anti-Semitic views which were shared with students.
While I cannot say how Brad Badiuk should be disciplined, I can say that his racist views cannot be ignored. He may be well liked by the student population overall, but his comments paint him as anything but a nice guy.