Amherst – What’s In A Name?

CBC reported in 2017 on the dark history of Jeffrey Amherst, including text from one of Amherst’s letter;

“You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race. I should be very glad your scheme for hunting them down by dogs could take effect, but England is at too great a distance to think of that at present,” wrote Amherst in a 1763 letter.

The September 29, 2021 River Town Times reports, Councillor calls for no reference to Jeffrey Amherst in new school name.

“McArthur said he preferred if the new school would have a new name, free of any Jeffrey Amherst references, stating Jeffrey Amherst advocated genocide against the Indigenous population in the 1700s. The councillor did say he opposed changing the name of the town, noting residents have made it a beautiful and inclusive community.“I don’t think we should change the name of the town,” he said, adding people “have made it their own” despite the man for whom it was named.”

Is it not hypocritical to promote ‘a step towards reconciliation’ for the new high school, when council has no jurisdiction to do so, yet dismiss the idea of a name change for the town?

Trustee’s Response To General Amherst And Barrier Free Access

This is a follow up to the previous post, Reader Asks About General Amherst And Barrier Free Access.

In an email to the PARC and school board trustee Ron Le Clair, I pointed out four references to the outdated “handicap” in the Review and that there is no mention of cost to ensure that GAHS is made barrier-free; I inquired if cost estimates would be obtained prior to a decision on the status of the school.

Trustee Ron Le Clair responded: “I agree with you that the terminology is outdated and should be amended to reflect more relevant terminology. I will forward your email to superintendent Awender, so he is aware of this issue.

As far as updating the accessibility of General Amherst, I am not aware of any estimates on this issue. I would expect any recommendations to maintain the school would include accessibility improvements in the total cost.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.”

Reader Asks About General Amherst And Barrier Free Access

Sarah asked, “Do you think we should be fighting to keep the current building that houses Amherst open? Would we be able to make it barrier-free and accessible (not sure of the cost)? Or should we be looking at requesting a new school that could be built from the ground up, accessible and barrier-free? I am interested in your perspective and thoughts on this matter.”

hi sarah,

thanks for your question! i think the community should fight to keep GAHS in its current location. generally, it is less expensive to renovate than to build new. i reviewed the PARC School Information Profile, which includes references to no accessible washrooms and amenities for students and staff, no lift/elevator and no to the question if the entire building is wheelchair accessible. the three accessible parking spaces at the back are the result of my human rights complaint settlement with the town.

i did not see any mention that the building is in such disrepair that it should be abandoned, so i see no reason why renovations could not be undertaken to ensure the building is barrier-free. i emailed the PARC and school board trustee Ron Le Clair that there is no mention of cost to ensure that GAHS is made barrier-free and inquired if cost estimates would be obtained prior to a decision on the status of the school.

i will post any response i receive.