George Jay Elementary may have its name changed if its parental advisory council pushes forward. (File contributed/Fernwood NRG)

Victoria residents divided over changing school name due to its racist history

50 per cent of survey respondents favour changing name of George Jay Elementary

Victoria residents are divided on the proposed name change for George Jay Elementary school.

In a report presented at a Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Operations Policy and Planning Committee meeting on Monday, results from an online survey were discussed.

In October, SD61 launched the survey to gauge people’s opinions on changing the school’s name. Parents began rallying for a name change this summer after the history of its namesake was discovered. George Jay was a long-time school board member who named the school after himself while he still held his role. He was instrumental in the segregation of the school, most specifically banning Chinese students from attending.

ALSO READ: Parents advocate for change of George Jay Elementary name, citing racist history

More than 2,500 people responded to the survey, and 50 more attended an open house on the topic, with others supplying written responses.

Exactly 50 per cent of online respondents said they supported the name change, while 37.09 per cent said they did not. A total of 12.91 per cent said they may favour a name change once they knew what the naming options were.

Written response results were closer; 49 per cent were in favour, 44 per cent were not, five per cent were neutral and one per cent didn’t respond.

At the open house, 17 people wanted to change the name, 20 did not and one would support it once they know naming options.

“It reflects my conversations with the community, certainly,” said Jordan Watters, SD61 board chair. “I know there’s a lot of perspectives held and that it’s difficult to suggest changing a name without an alternative option, but it’s important to ask those questions separately.”

ALSO READ: Victoria school board to explore George Jay Elementary name change

From public engagement responses, the leading name suggestions included North Park Elementary, Fernwood Elementary, Cook Street Elementary, a name that recognizes First Nations and traditional territory, or a name that recognizes the Chinese Canadian community.

The next steps for the school board take place at two committee meetings in January when members decide if they’d like to carry forward with a name change or not. If a name change is selected, a specific committee will be created which includes school trustees, school administrators, staff, parents, and Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations representatives.

“Regardless if we change the name I feel really proud that we’re having these conversations,” Watters said. “This process is examining the past and that helps us change what we do moving forward… George Jay is our own school and our own history, and it’s important to be honest about that.”

nicole.cresenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Greater Victoria School Districtsd61

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Saanich police sport personalized face masks

Masks feature the crest and individual officer pin numbers

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read