Aug 2017 24

Some vacation thoughts on the debate on changing the names of our schools that are in honour of John A Macdonald. Wine may have been involved. 

Melody Village.

The school I went to in Rexdale, part of the venerable Etobicoke Board of Education, was named after her. All the time I was there, I just took it as a name. At various times, I loathed the school, and loved it. I just took it as a name. It could have been Benjamin Braddock Public (plastics!) or Beer on Tap Shampoo Academy (they told two friends and so on, and so on).

But little did I know Melody Village was an evil person. Trying to push music, the notes of the solfége on me. It wasn’t until I was in my adulthood that I even sought to look her up, to see what oppressive values my school had put upon me.

Teachers in Ontario are vying to change the name of countless schools across Ontario that are named after John A. Macdonald, one of the fathers of Confederation. The reasons? He is a symbol, and perpetrator, of crimes against our Indigenous people. And it is insensitive for a school to be named after him. A reminder of how we looked upon people as lesser than.

Look, I am all for being more sensitive and inclusive.

And I am not a teacher, and I will ask some after I post this admittedly hot-take.

But really, can’t we view this as a ‘teaching moment’? An opportunity to sit the kids down on the first day, or week, of school and tell them the reality of why schools are named after this person – who he was in the scheme of things, his mistakes, what Canada is today, and where we need to be mindful and grow? Can’t we put our energy there for now?

I am really not against changing the names.

But I know I’d personally prefer our fight was against separate school funding in Ontario. Let’s focus our righteousness somewhere closer to home, please?

Religion has no place in our school system. And that shit is wrong.

I can prove John A. Macdonald existed, and we can debate his merits and faults. But Jesus? I cannot prove he existed, nor his value in a world gone awry.

Melody Village. In my mind, she was a lovely and kind person.

Not. I didn’t give it another fucking thought other than – Oh, that’s what my school is called.

Let’s focus the education on where it matters. Teach the kids. Teach them everything and what matters. Knowledge is power.

Ignorance of the past teaches them nothing.

I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.