School board rescinded a motion Tuesday to rename Beattie elementary and to be sure that no one starts calling Stuart Wood elementary McGill in the meantime.
So was the renaming motion as originally worded during a review process held Feb. 15. Although the intent was clear, the motion would have changed Stuart Wood, which is to be closed at the end of this school year, to McGill elementary. (Stuart Wood shouldn’t have entered into the conversation, aside from the fact that Emily Beattie taught there and may well have been the first female principal in the district a century ago.)
In order to clarify the situation, the board opted Monday to rescind the Feb. 15 motion and start afresh with a new renaming motion to be voted on at its next public meeting, March 30. The only other option was to reword the motion.
“My view is that this is the cleanest way,” said Trustee Gerald Watson, who chairs the policy committee.
The March 30 vote will require a two-thirds majority to pass.
Beattie has served as a school of choice, an elementary school of the arts for the past decade, but that changes next school year when both elementary and secondary arts schools are merged at the John Peterson campus.
A second motion Tuesday will have the board come up with a renaming policy that applies specifically to existing schools. The policy used for the Beattie/McGill process was intended for new schools, not for renaming or repurposing existing ones, explained Karl DeBruijn, district superintendent.
The renaming of Beattie, currently known as Beattie School of the Arts (making it even more confusing), didn’t sit well with some people in the community since it removes a name long associated with education in Kamloops. The Beattie sisters — there were six of them, all teachers — taught in the area for a period of more than 50 years from 1886 to 1945. In 1958, when Kamloops School Board named a new school Beattie elementary, three surviving sisters attended.
In a letter to the board, Sheila Park, president of the Kamloops Retired Teachers Association, asked that the renaming be reconsidered after the KRTA passes a motion to that effect: “Removing an honour from a Kamloops pioneer family that was bestowed by the Kamloops Board of School Trustees in 1958 should be reconsidered by the current school board.”