The school at the heart of the naming controversy on Hartsdale Ave, is still under construction.
Staff photo by Fred Loek
The Peel District School Board followed policy and procedure in renaming a new school in south Mississauga after longtime trustee and chair Janet McDougald — and it will follow through with the change despite fierce opposition from a group of parents.
“I’m absolutely confident the Board will stand behind its decision and honour a person who’s had a long history of dedicated service to the school community,” said Brian Woodland, the Board’s director of communications.
Woodland said the new name for Hartsdale Avenue Public School will be publicly “received” by trustees at next Tuesday’s Board meeting. Eleven of those trustees decided to rename the school after McDougald, who's been a trustee for 23 years and Board chair for the past 14 consecutive terms, during a private meeting earlier this fall. The decision was announced Dec. 1 during the Board’s inaugural meeting for the new school year.
Woodland disagreed with a statement by a spokesperson from Ontario’s education ministry saying decisions on what to name schools must be made in public.
“There’s no issue with the process ... it’s based on solid legal opinion,” he said.
Lost in the row, Woodland noted, is that the community will get a new, state-of-the-art school, something that’s only provided to burgeoning communities, mostly in Brampton.
“What they’re getting is a fabulous place to learn. Students and parents will be very happy once it’s up and running,” he said.
Following a series of construction delays, that will be next September, parents were told on Tuesday night at a meeting held at the school. After the meeting, a group of disaffected parents confronted McDougald about the name change. Parents said they thought Hartsdale was the final name, given to the school after the amalgamation of Byngmount Beach, Neil C. Matheson and Lyndwood schools and inspired by the name of the street it’s on.
They say students and staff had already created a motto and mascot — the Hartsdale Husky — based on it. According to the Peel Board's own policies, the street name should be the top priority when naming a school, they argued.
McDougald refused to decline the honour, and said she’s received many calls of support.
McDougald also defended the process. Naming a school, she said, is made in private because they involve individuals who could be embarrassed if the vote goes against them. It could also prove embarrassing for the Board, she added.
“It’s not done to be secretive, it’s done to be sensitive,” she said.
McDougald also noted that when the school was named Hartsdale, she received several calls complaining the name wasn’t creative enough.
Since Tuesday’s meeting, nearly 100 parents have signed a petition asking trustees to reverse their decision.
Comments by others - 14 - to this web-page at time of posting;
Gideon Dec 9, 2011 12:28 PM
being spokesperson fo the board is her job. And if I want to find bullies I don't have to look very far on this list of postings. And Tony Jackson, two things. I am not McD. If kids name-called like you are it would be bullying--and need discipline. Some of you remind me of a famous quote, "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". Please feel free to contiinue to debate yourselves. I have a life.
Canadians Dec 9, 2011 12:12 PM
Heh, parents of Janet McDougald Elementary School.........
Will the School Council be inviting Janet McDhee to chair workshops on Anti-bullying strategies @ JMES? Can't wait for JMcDhee to discuss anti-bully initiatives @ the PDSB meetings. LOL Right up there with the Ontario Parliamentary Assisstant for Education giving a speech in the legislature supporting the Anti-bullying Legislation moving through the morass. Makes you wonder if Nanny McPhee has more credibility?
Tony Jackson Dec 9, 2011 12:06 PM
"If my child.....importance of respect". You are right on that. And you must make that chat after showing a bit common sense. Get this to your thick head McD. If your constituents are against your damn "outrageous" decisions (of naming the school after an incumbent trustee) and you should abandon that decision instead of being "stupid" enough to defend yourself that you deserve that entitlement because you worked so long for so little (money). You are so disgusting (go ahead with that little chat looking at a mirror).
bandrhere Dec 9, 2011 11:57 AM
....when will these trustees start listening to the people they serve????? Reading between the lines, is easy to see that the position they(trustees) hold, is that the very people they serve will get this school and it will be named after one of their own,like it or not!!! What a lack of class!!!
Agree 2 - Disagree 1
Prol Dec 9, 2011 11:56 AM
No matter what side of the argument you're on,
You can't deny the mind-boggling classlessness of McDougald's actions in defending this.
Agree 2 - Disagree 1
Gideon Dec 9, 2011 11:05 AM
So, "people scream at you because you act so stupid and outrageous". Who is emotional now? At last count, nobody screamed at me. Not sure what assumptions you're making. If my child made comments like yours, we would be having a little chat about the importance of respect.
Canadians Dec 9, 2011 10:46 AM
PDSB will tacle school bullies, promise!
Just as Chair McDougald agreed that the Neil C. Matheson school name should be shelved in another of their infamous backroom mis-cues; so too will Janet McDougald's name eventually be ditched. Imagine McDougald and the Ontario Parliamentary Assistant for Education co-chairing a public school meeting on Anti-bullying innitiatives. Market that one. LOL
Agree 1 - Disagree 1
Tony Jackson Dec 9, 2011 10:35 AM
“..She was surprise by it..” That was a decision of just eleven (mis) trustees who really lost touch with the residents and parents whom they represent. Their decision reflects only cronyism. Now, many residents are against the decision but the (mis)trustees are still refusing to open their eyes and going after legal validity of their outrageous action. People scream at you because you act so stupid and outrageous.
Agree 2 - Disagree 1
Gideon Dec 9, 2011 9:56 AM
Hope you run for the job. Almost a fulltime role, but the kind of pay you get at McDonald's--and that si if you are the Chair at 25 k. Enjoy the perks though--out at meetings like the one last week where people scream at you, and boundary meetings, and council meetings, and consertc and on and on. If you can last even the four year term you'll ask for a school too. Except that McDougald didn't ask for it--she was surprised by it.
macman Dec 9, 2011 8:52 AM
You think so? It is not easy to replace any politician in Mississauga, especially when no one runs against them. Mississauga needs term limits to allow fresh thinkers in. Most of our councillors, trustees, and the Mayor are in the 20 year club. Name recognition in Mississauga is a powerful thing.
Fartleberry Dec 9, 2011 7:51 AM
Boot out the trustees then.
Like McD they can be easily replaced. I guess they're still mad they didn't get their golf course.
Agree 1 - Disagree 1
hio Dec 8, 2011 10:56 PM
Agree 6 - Report Abuse 1
Tony Jackson Dec 8, 2011 10:55 PM
If they are flexing the legal muscles...
in the next election we will boot them out and re-naming the school will be in the top of the list. And, we will have customized toilet paper, with the name Dougald printed on every ply, for the school. (Well, the last part is a crude joke)
Gideon Dec 8, 2011 10:17 PM
School still on hartsdale. They will still be the huskies.
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