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It's Beattie school and it always has been

Name-change foofaraw winds up honouring history
April 4, 2016 8:36 P.M.
Stuart Wood school: Rename district programs but not buildings, board concludes.

History was taken to heart Monday night as Kamloops-Thompson School Board voted unanimously to retain the name Beattie elementary school.

After initially passing a motion to rename the school McGill elementary, the board considered public feedback relating to the historical significance of the Beattie name — intended to honour a local family of teaching sisters — that gave trustees pause to reconsider.

The name-change issue arose with the planned relocation in September of students from the existing Beattie School of the Arts to a centralized K-12 campus at Kamloops School of the Arts, John Peterson campus. At the same time, students from Stuart Wood elementary will relocate to the former Beattie School of the Arts. 

Wanting to give the Stuart Wood students a fresh start, trustees felt a whole new name was appropriate. 

Then the matter became confused, partly through a name-change policy intended for new facilities, not renaming, and partly due to a mis-worded motion in February, as though the school switches weren’t confusing enough to start. 

And it became confusing for other reasons as well on Monday night. Trustee Gerald Watson said he was a little concerned that names of the school and the building not be confused; they are two separate entities.

Trustee Kathleen Karpuk said the pattern has always been to leave the school buildings unchanged while moving the names with the student bodies. Beattie School of the Arts has bounced between three different buildings.

“It is confusing,” said trustee Megan Wade. “I can’t think of a prior time when we renamed a school. The name always went with the students.”

Staying with Beattie elementary would probably cause additional confusion, but it’s a matter of reconfirming the original name, she noted.

“Technically, that building name never got changed; we renamed the program,” Wade added.

Trustee Joan Cowden reread her name-change motion three times just to be sure: “That the school building on McGill Road be called Beattie school as it was originally called in 1958 by the Kamloops School Board.”

Finally, a clear result: Unanimity.

“Who knew?” said chairwoman Denise Harper. “A tempest in a teapot.”

The Beattie sisters are having the last laugh, a lesson for school board.

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