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'Completely unfair': Students and residents double down in disgust over new Kingsville school name

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Students at Kingsville District High School staged a second walkout Friday afternoon. The fallout continues over the new name selected for the new kindergarten-grade 12 public school that opens in September.

Similar to last Friday’s demonstration, many residents and school alumni joined the afternoon protest, calling on the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB) of Trustees to rescind and reconsider the name ‘Erie Migration Academy’ after it was abruptly selected last month.

“I think that the name was chosen completely unfair,” said grade 9 student Sarah Denunzio.

“We should have gotten a say as the students,” Denunzio said. “I think that this new school should have incorporated Kingsville into the name. I don't think Erie Migration Academy is a good choice in general.”

Kingsville resident Dan Nowlan said he came out to support the students, noting he was not pleased with how the new name was brought forward.

Students at Kingsville District High School staged a walkout on March 1, 2024, in protest of the new name selected for the new K-12 public school that opens in September. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

“I find it pretentious, arrogant, the procedure unfounded and that the student body has the right to represent themselves going forward in their future,” he said.

Others, like retired teacher and Kingsville resident Laurel Robinet, said it’s important to maintain Kingsville in the new school name, concerned its absence would strip the community of it’s Kingsville identity.

“I appreciate the efforts of the trustees and actually building this school,” said Robinet. “I mean, it's going to be a marvelous project. There's no doubt about that. But I think there's something to be said about process.”

Robinet continued, “And really, all they're asking is for the word ‘Kingsville’ and ‘district’ or ‘area,’ whatever you want to say, to be in the name. I don't think that's asking for too much.”

Students at Kingsville District High School staged a walkout on March 1, 2024, in protest of the new name selected for the new K-12 public school that opens in September. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)

In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson for the GECDSB said the school’s administration was aware of the protests that have taken place, noting they followed the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety while exercising their right to express themselves.

Many at the protest said they’re hopeful the matter will be reconsidered.

“Let's just rescind. Look at it again, and I'm sure we can come up with something better,” Robinet added.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for March 19.

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