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CBE to review the name of Sir John A. Macdonald junior high school

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) will undertake a name review of the Sir John A. Macdonald school in north Calgary.

Trustees passed a motion April 26 to form a name review committee for the school.

Ten days ago, the Reconciliation Action Group (RAG) had published the support of two academics who said the name should be changed. RAG had been helping a student-led effort to have the school’s name changed.

“Trustees have heard from stakeholders, including students, that it is important that we review the name of the school. Sir John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first prime minister and there is complex history attached to the name,” the CBE said in a statement released Monday.

The committee work includes:

  • Reviewing and consider historical research and analysis related to the school name.
  • Engaging with stakeholders.
  • Following guiding principles when conducting review and making recommendation(s).
  • Providing recommendation(s) to the Board.

Once that work is complete, the CBE Board of Trustees will make a decision.

Previously, the CBE trustees voted to change the name of the Langevin School. New schools coming for Calgary don’t bear any historical names. Instead, they’re named after physical features around the school.

Dr. Carmen Nielson at Mount Royal University said the CBE should reconsider the name given its commitment to a culture of inclusion.

“The Board ought to acknowledge that honouring a Prime Minister whose policies deliberately excluded and harmed those who were not racially white contradicts these laudable goals,” she wrote.

Public school trustees will next name committee members. It will have seven people, including trustees, CBE staff, the school council chair and community members.

Here are the name review committee’s terms of reference.