Chilliwack resident Peter Lang who lost his son in government care has decided to run for school board.
Lang said he put his name forward for trustee out of concern there would not be enough Indigenous representation on the board over the coming four years.
Lang, who is Métis, has a background with the federal government, starting as a correctional officer with the Correctional Service of Canada in 2001 and eventually becoming Deputy Warden at Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing Village, which is located in Sts’ailes Territory.
He is currently assistant warden at a medium security facility in Abbotsford but he resides in Chilliwack.
Lang said he is concerned about allocation of resources within the district, lack of specialist supports for students within schools, and he felt some candidates were too focused on one issue.
“I think boards need multiple voices from diverse backgrounds in order to look out for the interests of all children and youth,” he said in a statement. “It concerns me that we could have yet another generation of youth growing up with scars of shame due to ostracizing or harassment. I don’t like that and I won’t stand by idly and watch it happen in my community.”
Lang lost his son, Nick Lang, in June of 2015. Nick, who was 15 years old at the time, struggled with addiction and likely an undiagnosed mental health issues prior to his death.
“Losing a child is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone,” Lang said. “A very big piece of me died on June 9, 2015 and I know his mom feels the same. I can choose to be bitter, but that won’t bring Nick back, or I can choose to hopefully make positive change for other youth in this community by being part of a board that ensures our schools are adequately resourced with teachers, educational assistants, specialists and support staff. Over and above all of that, I would like to see greater emphasis on mental wellness and addictions in our schools. I know it’s improving across our Province right now, but we have 16 years of neglect to make up here.”
Lang stated he will focus on safe and inclusive schools, resource allocation, indigenous culture and history in the local curriculum, and mental health/addiction supports for youth who are struggling.
“I want to see a robust public education system that is responsive to the needs of ALL children or youth, and a system that is well prepared for the youth of tomorrow. This takes a broad and long term vision, and I think I bring that to the table.”