June 8th, 2021
Statement of the Ad Hoc School Naming Review Committee on School Renaming Efforts and Sir John A. MacDonald (SJAM)
As members of the Ad Hoc School Naming Review Committee of the Board of Trustees of the WRDSB, we would like to acknowledge the acute pain endured this week by Indigenous students and their families, and staff, as well as members of the larger community. We also acknowledge that since 2004 there has been ongoing pain and harm with the school named for Sir John A. MacDonald. While we cannot imagine the feelings it must inspire, we understand that this pain is heartfelt and urgent. We recognize the ongoing genocide and erasure of culture committed by the nation and people of Canada against the First Nations peoples of this land. We are committed to the formulation of a new policy for Naming and Renaming Schools, which respects all Human Rights considerations and the importance of Reconciliation.
As an Ad Hoc Committee we are working to Decolonize our policy around Renaming schools as a priority. The new policy will redress the omissions in the existing policy, and will reflect the WRDSB’s commitment to Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion, and be compliant with the Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Codes. All school names in the WRDSB inventory will be assessed under the new policy to reflect the values of the community, and again we recognize the urgency of this particular change.
We will be seeking to start a community consultation process on a new name for the school as soon as possible, with stakeholders like students and their families and staff, as well as interested members of the community.