Ryerson School could soon get a new name, after trustees voted Thursday to move forward with considering renaming the building so it no longer pays tribute to an architect of residential schools.
Late Thursday, elected officials in the Pembina Trails School Division unanimously approved a motion to have a committee review the name of the K-6 school at 10 Ryerson Ave. and report back on the matter as soon as possible.
"(The residential school system) was something that was certainly intended to eradicate Indigenous culture and, as a result of that, there was enormous suffering that happened and I think that it’s important to look at renaming the school because of that," said David Johnson, a long-time trustee, who spoke in favour of the motion Thursday.
Community members started to raise questions about the school’s namesake following the recent discovery that 215 children had been buried in unmarked graves near a residential school in Kamloops.
Egerton Ryerson (1803-82) was a teacher and Methodist church leader whose ideas about education influenced the design and implementation of residential schools, as well as the public school system in Ontario.
Pembina Trails currently requires schools be named after: the street on which a building faces; the historical or current name of the area it is located in; a name symbolic of its unique programming; or either a historic figure renowned to the division’s community or whose contribution to society is "recognized and valued."
Johnson said during the Thursday meeting he believes the school was named after Ryerson by happenstance because of the avenue it is on.