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HWDSB trustee Becky Buck discusses the reaction to her appointment as vice-chair

HWDSB trustee Becky Buck discusses the reaction to her appointment as vice-chair

“Hate doesn’t drive out hate.” Trustee Becky Buck told the Bay Observer in an interview about her recent appointment as Vice Chair of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and the backlash from that appointment. She was discussing an objection to her selection that was made by two student trustees who indicated they were relaying criticisms that they had received largely from the student activist coalition, Hamilton Students for Justice. The coalition said Buck should not have been appointed after she was named in a report earlier this year investigating allegations of racism on the board made by a former student trustee. The report concluded that in a debate over removing Hamilton Police from HWDSB schools, Buck had used the term “Twitter trolls” to describe persons who had been critical of her on social media about the police issue. Beck told the Bay Observer, “There was definitely a need to correct some aspects the Police in Schools program, but I felt it still had value—especially in things like educating young people about human trafficking—an issue I care deeply about.” Beck said in the weeks leading up to the police vote all trustees received a great deal of social media traffic, “reaction became intense, overwhelming,” she said. “The few screenshots I took of the “trolling” I deleted a few weeks following the meeting as I had found it disturbing to see them whenever I went into my phone’s photo album.” However, she did save one of the tweets which was typical of the response:

“Hate doesn’t drive out hate”…Becky Buck

Asked if she didn’t think the use of the term ‘twitter trolls’ was justified given the unpleasant personal nature of the comments she was receiving, Trustee Buck disagreed. “I do regret saying it. Speaking isn’t my forte and I usually write my thoughts out in advance, but in this instance, I didn’t do that. I reacted to some meanness.”

A first-term trustee Becky Buck was elected in 2018 to serve the West Mountain Wards 8 and 14, replacing long-time Board member Wes Hicks. She easily topped a field of five candidates capturing 6800 votes and 61 percent of the total votes cast.

After the racism report was released, Becky took racial sensitivity training recommended by the consultant along with fellow trustees which she said was a great benefit. “I do want to challenge myself,” she said. “I was grateful to have that training. We had nothing of that nature when we came into office.” She is open to the notion of white privilege, and considers herself fortunate to live in a time when the sky is the limit for women in whatever they wish to do. Before offering herself for the vice-chair and mindful that there might be some opposed because of the report, she met with all of her trustee colleagues, a majority of whom subsequently voted her to the position.

As much as she loves the work of a trustee, she admits that there is a climate of fear around the HWDSB table of saying the wrong thing. “It’s scary that in this social media era everything you say is analyzed and pulled apart. That if you have a position others disagree with—you are (considered) a hate -filled person.  But it’s part of being in public office.”

Despite all the controversy Becky says its worth it. “The work in the committees is amazing,” she said, noting that she serves on between 8 and 10 committees as part of the job which pays roughly $13,500 per year and will increase by $2,500 as vice-chair. “You get an appreciation of the work that goes on in the classroom, that you couldn’t  otherwise see. I’m excited to be there.”

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  • in your article you state that the report on Becky Bucks twitter troll comment was directed at activists. the same report found this comment made by Becky Buck was racist. you somehow missed that detail. Becky Buck was one of four trustees investigated. the same report found three of her fellow trustees made explicit anti Muslim and racist remarks at school board meeting in reference to members of the public. the behaviour was so deplorable two were sanctioned and it was recommended the other resign. systemic racism in our school boards. this is the important story other media outlets in Hamilton have been following. the Bay Observer however took the time to let Becky Buck paint herself as a victim. nice.

    • In my view the report was wrong, all the trustee did was complain about twitter trolls which she was more than justified in doing, but for which she apologized nonetheless. She also opposed the appointment of an indigenous student trustee because she felt it unfair to single out one group over other minorities. That is not racist by any reasonable interpretation.

      • your feelings on the subject are your feeling. you disagree with the official results of the investigation so you fail to report that in your article. ok. if you felt that strongly about it why not state the facts and then present the reasons why you disagree with it?

      • So Trustee Buck says we cant appoint a indigenous school trustee cause it would be unfair to other minorities. this is an old tactic from the reactionary playbook. “Until we find a solution for everyone we cant work towards a solution for some”. sounds almost like the “All Lives Matter” phraseology Trustee Bucks board members are all to familiar with and comfortable using. .so in the interests of “fairness” she proposes what? whats her alternative? inaction. and Mr Best, whether you agree or not, Canadian civil society has already recognized that indigenous peoples are not “just another minority” and need special attention because of history.

  • the trustee says she was a victim of on online social media campaign from local activists . the only evidence presented was a screengrab of some rando from another province. too traumatized so she deleted them. couldnt file them in a folder for the future. nope.

  • I have said this before they are those that will ta
    ke the opertonity to raise a voice that suits their needs.Calling someone a troll is not racist unless you make it one.I don’t know the woman but she shows conviction to doing things right.

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