Winnipeggers can have their say on changing the name of Cecil Rhodes School
WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg School Division (WSD) is looking for the public’s opinion on the renaming of one of its schools.
The school division has created an online survey to garner community input about the potential renaming of Cecil Rhodes School.
CTV News Winnipeg reported in October 2020 that the WSD had passed a motion to get the ball rolling on the renaming of the school.
Rhodes, known for establishing the Rhodes Scholarship, was also a white supremacist and settler colonialist. He is also considered an architect of South Africa’s apartheid system.
Jennifer Chen, the school board trustee who submitted the motion, told CTV News Winnipeg that honouring Rhodes sends the wrong message to students and families.
“The feedback from the community that I received, from parents, from students, is that it’s time for the school board to look at this issue,” she said.
“It is time to change the name of Cecil Rhodes School.”
In a news release, the WSD said the motion states that its administration has to consult with students, parents/guardians, and members of the community on the renaming of the school. The results of this consultation need to be provided to the board of trustees no later than March 15, 2021.
For the first phase of this consultation process, the school, which is located in the Weston neighbourhood, held an in-house inquiry to gather student opinion on renaming the school.
“The inquiry project started to take shape when we knew there was going to be a process of possibly changing the name of our school,” said Anne Pereira, the school’s principal, in a news release.
“We really wanted to have student voice as part of the decision-making process and provide that student voice to our leadership and trustees. We also wanted this to be a real learning process for our students, so that they could look at all the different information and practice researching on their own.”
Now, in the second phase of the inquiry process, the school is seeking the public’s input with an online survey. The survey is open to all Winnipeg residents, including students at Cecil Rhodes School.
WSD noted it will provide help from intercultural support workers, where needed, to ensure equity for the school community to provide their thoughts.
The survey can be found online, and is also available in paper form upon request. The deadline is Feb. 5.