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Three potential new names unveiled for London elementary school

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A London elementary school named after a British general who died in 1914 is another step closer to gaining a new moniker by the fall.

Tuesday night, Thames Valley District school board trustees heard three renaming recommendations for Lord Roberts elementary school, whose namesake was a British general whose exploits in India, Africa, Afghanistan and Ireland during the 1800s earned him many honours.

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“There were 92 submissions received from the community,” said Lynne Griffith-Jones, superintendent of student achievement.

The submissions were reviewed by the board’s Indigenous education team as part of a new focus on using names with Indigenous ties to rename schools across the board, which is the largest in Southwestern Ontario.

The three proposed names are:

Centre-Ville French Immersion public school: Centre-ville in French means downtown, where the Princess Avenue school is located in London. As well, the French use of the downtown “demonstrates that it is a French Immersion school,” board officials say.

Falcon French Immersion public school: The peregrine falcon “has a presence in the school’s geographical area,” board officials say. “It’s often characterized as graceful, loyal and a problem solver.”

Woodfield French Immersion public school: Lord Roberts is located in the Woodfield neighbourhood of London, which is a designated heritage district.

A community poll of the proposed names will run from Wednesday until May 7 and the results will be unveiled next month.

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“Our report will come to the board in May with a recommendation of a new name for Lord Roberts,” Griffith-Jones said.

Last month a new Thames Valley policy was released outlining that school name changes were being considered for ones whose current name “represents a documented legacy of harm, discrimination or inequity,” board chair Beth Mai said at the time.

The new focus also prioritizes school names of significance to Indigenous communities, Mai said.

“New name choices for the community to vote on will include at least one name connected to local Indigenous peoples, history and traditions,” she said.

No Indigenous names were approved by the Indigenous education team for Lord Roberts, she said.

When a school renaming poll is shared, Mai said, all families for Chippewa of the Thames First Nation, Munsee-Delaware Nation, and Oneida Nation of the Thames will have an opportunity to participate, in addition to families living within the attendance area of the school whose name is being changed.

The cost of renaming a school is estimated to be between $30,000 and $40,000.

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The board already has bestowed new names on two London elementary schools: Ryerson public school on Waterloo Street was renamed Old North public school in June 2022. Trustees voted to change the name of F.D. Roosevelt public school on Second Street to Forest City public school in March 2023.

Trustees were presented with an option to rename John A. Macdonald public school on Landor Street in east London in April 2023, but they rejected the change. It’s not clear if the school named after Canada’s first prime minister will be renamed.

The following Thames Valley schools were recommended for potential new names in December 2022:

  • Lord Elgin public school, London
  • Lord Nelson public school, London
  • Lord Roberts French immersion public school, London
  • Prince Charles public school, London
  • Princess Anne French immersion public school, London
  • St. George’s public school, London
  • Sir Wilfrid Laurier secondary school, London
  • Montcalm secondary school, London
  • McGillivray Central public school, Alisa Craig
  • Victoria public school, London
  • Sir Georges Etienne Cartier public school, London
  • Lord Dorchester secondary school, Dorchester

HRivers@postmedia.com

@HeatheratLFP

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