Victoria parents pushing to rename elementary school
Parents of students at George Jay Elementary are pushing to have the school renamed, after learning about Jay's allegedly racist past in a book.
"George Jay was a white supremacist, there's no real way around it," said Parent Advisory Council chair, Angela Carmichael.
"Let's remove the name and go forward with it. We know better so let's please do better."
The school board says George Jay was a former board chair and named the school after himself. It's a name the board says it no longer wants to be associated with.
"It doesn’t really reflect our district values anymore," said Jordan Watters, Greater Victoria School Board (GVSB) chair.
"He initiated some policies that were very exclusionary and damaging to the Chinese community. Essentially, he was a segregationist."
The school board says the conversation to change the name is one that has been happening for decades, but recently has been gaining traction. After learning about Jay's history, more and more community members are supporting the change, with some adding that they hope the school will educate its students.
The school board says it wants to take the process slow, to ensure it is thorough, respectful and is able to have meaningful conversations.
"It will be a conversation that's happening with our youngest students all the way up to administrators, parents, and the community," Watters said.
The board has voted to begin a consultation process, which will include meeting with local Indigenous groups and Victoria's Chinese community.
It's a process parents hope will end with a new name.
"If you're saying, 'keep the name because its history' I'm saying that is a really sordid history that I don't want this community to continue along with," said Carmichael.