George Jay Elementary may have its name changed if the public pushes it forward. (File contributed/Fernwood NRG)

George Jay Elementary may have its name changed if the public pushes it forward. (File contributed/Fernwood NRG)

School district launches survey for George Jay Elementary name change

The Greater Victoria School District wants to take public cues before decisions are made

The Greater Victoria School District is hosting an online survey to gauge opinions on changing the name of George Jay elementary school.

Since August, members of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) have been advocating for a name change after learning of the historical background of the school’s namesake.

George Jay was chair of the school board from 1907-1934, and named the school after himself. In his role, Jay was an advocate for segregation the schools in regards to Chinese-Canadian students.

READ MORE: Parents advocate for change of George Jay Elementary name, citing racist history

“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 Jordan Watters, SD61 board chair in a statement.

“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.”

Students, teachers, parents and neighbours are encouraged to participate in the online survey, which will be available until 4 p.m. on Oct. 31.

READ MORE: Victoria school board to explore George Jay Elementary name change

Additionally, SD61 will also be hosting an open house on the topic on Wednesday, Nov. 6 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the George Jay Elementary gymnasium at 1118 Princess Ave.

“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 online survey can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/r/GeorgeJaySurvey.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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