Take Macdonald’s name off Brampton school: teacher union

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Published June 3, 2021 at 11:55 pm

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A teacher union’s local is calling on the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to immediately rename Sir John A. Macdonald Senior Public School in Brampton.

Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local within the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), wrote to PDSB supervisor Bruce Rodrigues on Thursday, posting the letter to Twitter.

Bannister-Clarke pointed out that the ETFO passed a motion almost four years ago, in August 2017, that called upon “all school districts to examine and rename schools and buildings” named after Macdonald. Bannister-Clarke notes ETFO also wrote to the PDSB early in the 2017-18 school year to ask the public board to have a debate about renaming the school, but that never happened.

“It is simply untenable, and a continuation of the generational harm and trauma that Indigenous peoples have been made to endure, for this board to ignore this call to take this small step towards Truth and Reconcilation,” Bannister-Clarke wrote on Thursday.

“Failing to (rename the school) would cause further re-traumatization.” 

Rodrigues was not director of the Peel public board in 2017. He accepted the position of PDSB superviser in June 2020.

The policies of Macdonald, who served as Canada’s first prime minister, have been shown by historians to have caused cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples.

The recent confirmation of remains of some 215 children buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., has amplified calls for communities and schools to take action. On Tuesday, workers in Charlottetown removed a statue of Macdonald from a downtown intersection in the Prince Edward Island capital.

(Photo by The Canadian Press.)

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