Good-bye F.D. Roosevelt Public. Hello Forest City Public.
Thames Valley District School Board Trustees granted approval Tuesday night to changing a northeast London elementary school's name from that of the former American president to one that gives a nod to the city's longstanding nickname.
“We want to thank the selection committee and school community for taking part in this renaming process," said Trustees Leroy Osbourne and Marianne Larsen. "We appreciate everyone’s thoughtful consideration and collaboration to select a name that reflects TVDSB’s commitment to creating safe and welcoming learning environments for all students and staff."
School board officials made the decision to rename F.D. Roosevelt Public, in addition to Sir John A Macdonald Public School, due to their namesakes having historical ties to racism and discrimination. There are 12 other schools identified during a sweeping review of all building and facility names within the board in 2021 facing potential name changes. A review committee was tasked with identifying schools with names that don’t reflect the board’s commitment to promoting human rights, equity, and inclusive learning environments for all students.
"TVDSB undertook the renaming process because of F.D. Roosevelt’s historical connection to racism and controversial approach to Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, which are inconsistent with the school board’s values and commitments to human rights and equity. As an American historical political figure, Roosevelt’s legacy also has limited relevance to the TVDSB community," the board wrote in a news release.
The new name for F.D. Roosevelt Public was selected using the board's public process for renaming schools. Community members put forward name suggestions which were then narrowed down to three by a selection committee made up of school members, trustees, and First Nations community members. The community then voted on the three short-listed names - Forest City Public , James F. Jenkins Public, and Second Street Public, with Forest City receiving 51 per cent support.
The new school name will take effect when the next school year begins in September. In the meantime, plans are underway to update school signage, the logo, and mascot, the board said.