Petition to quash plans to rename Pares Secondary School garners hundreds of signatures

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By Shermain Bique-Charles

[email protected]

More than 500 former students and teachers have signed a petition to urge the government to rethink its decision to rename the Pares Secondary School (PSS) after its first principal, Cardinal King.

In fact, these individuals would prefer that the school’s name remains unchanged.

The petition has already been shared with education officials, including the Director of Education Clare Browne, the Deputy Director, and the Education Officer responsible for secondary schools.

The petition was organised by a former teacher and student, Osbert Josiah, who told Observer that the issue is not about the late educator, but the manner in which the renaming had been announced.

Along with the rest of the nation, past students and staff first heard about the decision to rename PSS during a post-Cabinet press briefing in June.

“This has nothing to do with the character or the work of the esteemed Mr King, who by all reports and standards was a great educator. This is not about him; it’s about consultation and learning that the school was going to be renamed on social media,” Josiah said.

Josiah is suggesting that the renaming of the school, which is located in Pares Village, could encompass more than one individual.

“There are so many educators who have given their all to this institution. We are saying don’t name it after just one individual,” he pointed out.

The renaming exercise, he suggested, could be more meaningful if each wing at the school was named after past teachers and principals such as Ruth Limerick, Veronica Gordon, Bernadette Semper, Stannard Edwards, Howard Warner, Reginald Peterson, and Gloria David.

Josiah said the decision to rename Pares Secondary School was made solely by members of the Georgia-Cayman Islands Chapter of the Pares Secondary Alumni Association, along with the current principal.

According to the petition, “the chapter members misrepresented themselves as speaking for the entire alumni body of Pares Secondary School in regard to renaming the school”.

The petition also charged that the parents of students who currently attend Pares Secondary School were not even consulted or notified of the name change.

The association is also accused of misleading the Minister of Education Daryll Mathew.

“The Georgia-Cayman Islands Chapter of the Pares Secondary Alumni Association by-passed the hierarchy within the Ministry of Education and went to the minister with misleading information,” the document stated.

Furthermore, it said the wider alumni body of Pares Secondary School is not in agreement with the proposed name change, as there was no formal communication or consultation given, and when opposed or questioned, the members of the Georgia-Cayman Islands Chapter of the Pares Secondary Alumni Association provided no further information to the rest of the school’s alumni.

The Georgia-Cayman Islands Chapter and Minister Matthew have been approached for comment.

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