An Important Message

An Important Message

HRCE Families and Staff,

I am taking the unusual step of sending a message on Saturday because I believe it is important to provide people with information.

Last week, it came to my attention that an incident took place at Park West School that has caused distress in our community.

On Cultural Day, a day to celebrate the diversity of the school community, concerns arose regarding specific students’ actions. The matter was reviewed by the administration and discussed privately with the students and their families. Following the incident, many in the Palestinian and other communities came to believe that students were banned from wearing the Kufiyah, a traditional scarf to school. This is not the case.

I assure you that in HRCE schools, students are always welcome to express themselves in ways that maintain safety, dignity and respect for themselves, their classmates and their cultures. There are no bans on what students choose to wear to school.

In the past few days, we have received thousands of emails from concerned families and community members – locally and across the country – calling for this “ban” to be overturned. It was a remarkable demonstration of Canada’s commitment to freedom and diversity and a privilege to witness.

As a public education system, our highest priority is to ensure inclusive learning environments, where all students feel safe, accepted, and valued while in school – for exactly who they are. Our goal is to bring people together through education.

This situation signals that there is more work to be done within our system to build trust and acceptance. Members of our Diversity team will be at the school on Monday to work with the staff and students. The principal will also reach out to her community in the coming days.

On behalf of HRCE, I am deeply sorry for any harm this situation has caused the Palestinian community and others who have been impacted. 


Steve Gallagher
Regional Executive Director (Acting)
Halifax Regional Centre for Education