In a 4-3 vote, School District 57 trustees have decided to give the new school at Kelly Road two names. It will have the dual name Kelly Road Secondary and Shas Ti Secondary.
Trustee Ron Polillo originally put forward a motion to rename the school Kelly Road Shas Ti Secondary. The new $42 million school will open in September and in February, at the request of the Lheidli T’enneh, embarked on renaming the school Shas Ti in the name of truth and reconciliation. The board sought a new name that encompasses both the history of Kelly Road and Shas Ti, a Dakelh name meaning grizzly trail.
“The spirit of this recommendation is about compromise, it’s about telling both stories, honouring both legacies and a path for all of us to move forward,” he said.
Trustee Trent Derrick, who later put forward a motion to rename the school Shas Ti and name the gym Kelly Road, said disagreed with Polillo.
“Do we compromise the truth?” he said. “Why is it always the First Nations who compromise. They’ve been compromising for 150 years.”
Board chair Tim Bennett, however, put forward an amendment to Polillo’s motion to have, instead of a combined name, have a dual name for the school – Kelly Road Secondary and Shasi Ti Secondary.
“While I 100 per cent feel Shas Ti needs to be on the building this decision has put a dark cloud on the opening of the building,” he said. “This is not a hyphenated name. the building will have two names. I believe it is a way forward.”
He said having two names honours the history of Kelly Road and honour the history of the indigenous people of the area.
The amendment passed by a four-three count with Bennett, Bob Thompson, Sharel Warrington, and Shuirose Valimohamed voting for the amendment with Polillo, Betty Bekkering, and Trent Derrick voting against it.
Following a two-and-half hour debate where keeping the name Kelly Road only, Shas Ti only, and Shas Ti while renaming the gym Kelly Road, were also discussed, the dual name option won the day with Bennet, Polillo, Sharel Warrington, and Bob Thompson voting for the dual name.
Trustees Trent Derrick, Betty Bekkering, and Shuirose Valimohamed voted against the motion. Bekkering had put forward the motion to name the school Shas Ti, as requested by the Lheidli T’enneh and Derrick had put forward the motion to name the school Shas Ti and the gym Kelly Road.
Several trustees said the process undertaken to rename the school was poorly done.
“We heard the way this motion was put forward was not ideal,” said Polillo. “If I could go back and change it, I would … We could have done a better job communicating and consulting.”
Valimohamed added: “We really botched this when we didn’t consult first.”