Kelly Road name change discussion worthwhile

Seems like there are a lot of folks against the proposed name for the new Hart high school under construction to replace Kelly Road. 

See what I did there? 

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Folks, Kelly Road school will be bulldozed this fall. Your school as you know it will be gone this time next year.

Your memories of the school, your connection to the people, belong to you as long as you live. No one can take that away from you. A new school is nearly complete and it happens to be located directly behind the current school but it could have been built anywhere up the Hart – the school district could have chosen to demolish the current Austin Road elementary and build the new high school there. 

That new school will have the Kelly Road athletic banners hanging in the gym. 

That new school will have the pictures of the graduating Kelly Road classes from years gone by hanging in the hallways. 

So why can’t the school have a new name, one with a far deeper and richer connection to regional history than John Kelly from 100 years ago, who already has both a street and a road in Prince George named after him? 

I get the sentimental attachment. I live in the Hart, I have a daughter at Kelly Road, my wife is a Kelly Road grad. I have cheered for the Roadrunners and I wear my Hart Nation hoodie with the blue and green school colours with pride.

At this point, it’s still a discussion and I think it’s a discussion worth having and boy, have we talked at the dinner table at my house – about history and tradition and language and culture and entitlement and reconciliation.

Good for Tim Bennett and Trent Derrick and the rest of the school board trustees for initiating this discussion. What is unacceptable are the racial slurs used by many individuals online to make their case to apply the Kelly Road name to the new school. If you're one of the people upset because The Citizen closed the comment section for these stories on our website, restricting your "free speech," too bad. Hate speech isn't free. It's a criminal offence and we'd get charged, not you, for spreading your offensive drivel.

If you really care about keeping the Kelly Road name for the new school, you’ll drop that nonsense in a hurry because all you’re doing is making the case for why the name should be changed – to educate ignorant racists like yourselves about the history and the vibrant living culture of the Lheidli T’enneh and the Indigenous peoples of this region. 

Maybe you can’t be saved from your intolerance but hopefully your kids can. 

There’s a strong case to be made to save the Kelly Road name for the new high school and those arguments were made without racist attacks by the students who protested outside the school this week. 

The kids are setting the right example. 

Good for them.

"If the majority of the people don't like it, they shouldn't change the name," my kid proclaimed. "That's democracy."

Yes, that's true, I replied, except that the final decision rests in the hands of seven school board trustees who were democratically elected in 2018. If they vote that the new school will open in September as Shas Ti Secondary, that's what will happen. And if you don't like it, you'll be old enough in the fall of 2022 to vote out those trustees.

In the meantime, there will be opportunities to speak both for and against the proposal, in a respectful way.

 

That, too, is democracy.

 

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