It’s the first orange crosswalk on school property in Chilliwack, painted to recognize the painful legacy of residential schools.
“The hope is that it becomes a conversation piece, where a child might ask what it’s about, and that becomes a teaching moment for us,” said Jen O’Connal, parent advisory council (PAC) president at Evans Elementary School.
Evans PAC officials formally presented the orange crosswalk design to Chilliwack School District officials, and worked with them to ensure it completely conformed to provincial safety standards.
They did the leg work and created a template of the feather design, so others can now take advantage of it.
“Because it’s the first of its kind in Chilliwack, we worked with a designer to make a template for it,” the PAC president said.
A type of stencil made from that template is now available through the school district for other schools or businesses who may want to recognize the residential school system impacts in this same visually prominent way.
“It’s an important and easy way to bring recognition to Canada’s history with residential schools,” said O’Connal.
Along with the new orange crosswalk there’s also a freshly painted rainbow crosswalk to represent inclusivity and pride, which may also provide valuable teaching moments for children, she added.
In fact, the PAC had initially planned to paint both of the crosswalks at Evans with the LGBTQ friendly rainbow design, when the idea bubbled up for one of them to be an orange one with a white feather, as suggested by teacher Nicola Bramble.
They thought about it, and then took action to make it happen.
“In the climate of the last couple of years and everything that’s come to light about residential schools, which is more than what we knew about the history before, we thought it was important to acknowledge in an area where our kids learn and play,” O’Connal explained.
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