OTTAWA — Public school board trustees recommend that Rideau High School close its doors for good at the end of this school year, despite pleas from the community about the scars they say the school’s closure will leave.
The vote was held at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s committee of the whole. Trustees voted recommended Rideau High School for closure by a vote of 7-5.
The committee of the whole recommended the school close despite two evenings of public delegations, pleading for the school to be spared.
“We know that the closure of Rideau High will disproportionately affect immigrants…(and) people of colour,” said Rawlson King, president, Overbrook Community Association.
“This is targetting, in an indirect way, these specific groups of people…so that’s why we do see it as an act of systemic racism,” King told 1310 NEWS.
While Rideau High School’s programs for Indigenous students and people of colour can be recreated at another location, King says it can take up to a decade to fully rebuild the community ties Rideau High’s programs already currently have.
School board trustees have now recommended the closure of seven schools in Ottawa, as it tries to pare down expenses to fit within its provincial funding, and consolidate schools that are below-capacity.
Rideau High School’s fate will go to a final vote at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in early March. If approved, Rideau High will close in June, with students transferring to Gloucester High School this September.