The Greater Victoria School District announced on Wednesday that George Jay Elementary School will be getting a new name.
School district trustees voted to appoint a committee to “develop a re-naming process and to explore new naming options” at a board meeting on Monday night.
This decision comes after an online survey that polled nearly 2,500 Victoria residents on the subject of whether the school needed renaming.
50% of the 2,494 respondents supported changing the name, while 37.09% did not support the change and 12.91% needed to see potential naming options before deciding.
These consultations began in response to the school’s Parent Advisory Council bringing forth concerns about its namesake, George Jay, who advocated for the segregation of Chinese-Canadian students.
Jay immigrated to Victoria from England in the late 1800s and went on to become the chair of the city school board for 27 years, later playing a key role in the establishment of Victoria College.
However a book published by historian Timothy J. Stanley in 2011 reveals that he helped develop a policy of banning students of Chinese heritage from schools unless they knew fluent English.
This policy was then applied to all Chinese-Canadian students, regardless of their proficiency in English.
Alternate name suggestions for George Jay Elementary included Fernwood Elementary, Cook Street Elementary, or North Park Elementary.
Some respondents proposed a name that recognizes traditional First Nations territory or a name that represents the Chinese-Canadian community.