The Greater Victoria School District is releasing an online survey to gather input on whether or not to change the name of George Jay Elementary School in Fernwood. The consultation is in response to concerns in the community regarding the name of the school, which refers to a historic figure who championed segregationist policies with regard to Chinese Canadian students while he was Chair of the School Board from 1907-1934.
“Our District recognizes and values the diversity of our school population and in no way condones the racist historic practices by some of our predecessors,” said Board Chair, Jordan Watters. “As we develop a better understanding of institutional racism and the role of the education system, it’s essential that we have conversations as a community in order to determine the best way to address historical wrongs and forge a positive path forward.”
The District is encouraging students, staff, teachers and community members at or in the area of George Jay Elementary, as well as members of the Chinese Canadian community, to participate in the survey. In addition, an open house will be held on Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at George Jay Elementary in the gymnasium to collect input from the community.
Public input is an important part of the decision-making process. The District will bring forward the results of the survey and the input collected from the open house to the Board of Education to help inform and guide the next steps.
“Fostering a collaborative culture that aligns with our vision of One Learning Community is essential for us, and we welcome the input from the community to help make decisions regarding if we should change the school name,” said Superintendent, Shelley Green. “Whatever decision is ultimately made by the Board of Education has to be consistent with our mission, vision and values.”
The Greater Victoria School District’s mission, vision and values are located here.
SURVEY: The survey is now closed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the District considering whether or not to change the name?
Our District is always looking to ensure that our school names align with the District’s values and policies around diversity and inclusiveness. Our District believes it is essential to listen to the community to help the Board of Education to make informed decisions.
What does the naming policy now say?
The current naming policy does not allow schools to be named after individuals but does not specifically direct the renaming of schools already named in such a way. Click here for a copy of the Naming School Sites Policy.
What level of support is needed to move forward with a name change?
Public input is an important part of the decision-making process. The District will bring forward the results of the survey and consultation to the Board of Education to help inform and guide the next steps.
Our mission is to ensure a safe, responsive and inclusive learning community; our vision is for each student within our world-class learning community has the opportunity to fulfill their potential and pursue their aspirations. Values like equity, positive change and social responsibility and justice will also inform our decision.
Who makes the final decision? What other consultation would be done?
The Board of Education will make the final decision; the District could potentially appoint an advisory committee to develop a plan to further engage the community and provide recommendations on a path forward, including potential new names.