At our VSB board meeting last night I did not support Trustee Allan Wong’s motion to re-name Crosstown Elementary. I acknowledge that the names of Vancouver schools do not adequately represent Vancouver’s historic multicultural heritage or our board’s commitment to reconciliation, however I believe our board must respect our need to work within current policy and must respect our local school communities.
I believe that the VSB naming policy was followed for Crosstown Elementary; a naming committee was struck that was able to choose any name submitted. Trustee Wong and I were on the board when the naming process began and this was the opportunity for the board to provide direction, with a change of policy if necessary, to the naming committee to choose, for example, the name of a Chinese Canadian, the name of a Black Canadian, a name honouring Indigenous Peoples, or a geographical name.
My understanding of the re-naming policy’s intent is that the request to re-name a school must come from the school community as “the Board would consider proposals to re-name a school only in cases where the existing name is deemed to no longer be serving the needs of the school population or community”. Trustees have heard from the school population, from parents and students, that they have embraced and are proud of their school name.
I would like our board to be one that collaborates and consults with our school communities.
As a board we can better represent the historic multicultural heritage of our city and our commitment to reconciliation. We can do this by revising our VSB naming and re-naming policies and my motion before the board is:
The names of Vancouver schools do not adequately represent the historic multicultural heritage of our city.
In July 2016 the Vancouver Board of Education committed its full support to reconciliation.
There is the opportunity to work together with the City of Vancouver on renaming given the Civic Asset Naming Committee’s 2017-18 Work Plan includes Objective 4: Renaming framework and policy – Research policies from other jurisdictions concerning the renaming of assets to begin to formulate guidelines on renaming in Vancouver.
Therefore be it resolved:
That the Vancouver Board of Education develop and implement a process that includes stakeholder and community consultation to revise its naming and renaming policies, specifically policies FF: Naming New Facilities and FFC: Re-naming Existing School Facilities, to enable better representation of the city’s historic multicultural heritage and the board’s commitment to reconciliation.