As one example, when Warwick Academy Primary (of a former all-age white school) combined with Ord Road Primary (a former black primary school) following a name change to Paget Primary, most of the white students were withdrawn, causing the school to be predominantly black.
Additionally, during the 1971 transition, Saltus opted to reject government funding and became fully private and absorbed the previously designated white Cavendish School due to serious opposition from parents; following BHS who had privatized in the 60s when faced with voluntary desegregation.
In the 1990s, the UBP government began restructuring the educational system creating middle schools; and some schools, which were not already private, opted to become private rather than be directly subject to the government of the day.
Thus, prior to the 70s, we had involuntary school segregation. Today it is voluntary, ie the majority of whites send their children to private schools, as do Blacks who can afford it, while all others go to public schools. The desegregation of Bermuda’s schools resulted in one-way integration and the concurrent “black talent flight”, where historically white spaces were still considered superior, to which talented black Bermudians proactively sought access due to this perception.
The Clarien Education Fund
Three of the five schools to be supported by the Clarien Education Fund are schools that were once designated for white students, that benefited from receiving financial provisions for decades that were denied to schools designated for black students.
Considering the historical context presented, and the fact the island’s only predominantly black private school was initially omitted from Clarien’s giving, their donation not only perpetuated the perception that the selected schools are superior and that talented black Bermudian students should strive to access them, it also continued a centuries-old practice where financial provisions were made for these historically white schools specifically – a practice which established and maintained racially inequitable conditions within Bermuda’s experience of education.
Any reparative attention given to this legacy must fully consider this context, and subsequently, whether that reparative attention is meaningfully reparative in nature.
The reality is greater consultation/collaboration should have been proactively considered in advance of this donation to historically white private schools for black Bermudian students, and that without full stakeholder input and listening to the group they are trying to help, organizations will continue to make mistakes in attempts to level the playing field.