A Canadian school board is preparing to change the name of a public school named after Queen Victoria, citing the Queen’s alleged “racist legacy.”
The Planning and Priorities Committee submitted a request on behalf of the school council’s Black Student Success Committee, according to True North. The black student committee wants to begin the process of “changing the school name” of Queen Victoria Public School.
“Under our current policies, a request of this nature can be initiated from a school or local community,” the request states. “The response from School Council has been excitement at the possibility of being able to engage in the school renaming process. The desire to have a new name is representative of a ‘fresh start’ for the school community amongst a range of other positive changes.”
On April 21, the City of Toronto passed the “Renaming Schools Celebrating the Diversity of Toronto” motion. The motion claims that there aren’t enough schools named after indigenous or black leaders.
“Some school names do not reflect the values of contemporary Toronto,” the motion reads. “Some schools are named after people with a racist legacy.”
Queen Victoria Public School has held the name since 1887.
The City of Toronto is in the process of evaluating a slew of places for allegedly having problematic or racist histories.
Following the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in May of 2020, American school boards made similar moves to rename public schools and other institutions that have ties to problematic history.
In Washington, D.C., Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser put her support behind renaming Woodrow Wilson High School, citing the Democratic president’s ties to segregation. Bowser created a task force to research racially insensitive street names, monuments, buildings, and anything else with “any historical reference.”
“I think that [Woodrow Wilson High School’s name] should be changed,” Bowser said. “We know the legacy of President Wilson. I think that it has been appropriately disavowed. It is particularly impactful here in the District, the seat of the federal government, his legacy of segregationist policy.”
Princeton University similarly scrubbed Wilson — who was president of the university before becoming president — from the public policy program and residence hall that bore his name.
The Virginia school whose football team was the subject of the hit film “Remember the Titans” is also considering a name change. T.C. Williams High School was named after Thomas Chambliss Williams, who was a segregationist. The Alexandria City Public Schools Board unanimously voted in November to change the school’s namesake.
An elementary school in the same district, Matthew Maury Elementary, will be renamed as well. The school’s namesake was a naval officer and cartographer who defected to the Confederacy during the Civil War. Contenders for the new name include “Black Lives Matter Elementary School” and “Barack Obama Elementary School.”
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