HALIFAX — An online campaign has begun seeking to change the name of a Nova Scotia high school to honour the RCMP officer killed during the shooting rampage that claimed 22 lives in the province earlier this month.
A petition is calling for Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth to be renamed for Const. Heidi Stevenson.
As of mid-afternoon on Monday, it had already gathered more than 8,000 names.
The 48-year-old Stevenson was killed in a confrontation with the gunman, who was driving a mock police car and wearing an RCMP uniform.
Her union has described Stevenson as a hero for her actions in trying to stop the killer.
Education officials had previously held discussions about a name change when a sex scandal involving the real Prince Andrew erupted last fall.
No timeline was given at the time for any potential action around changing the school's name.
"We should honour (Stevenson) and her memory by having her name forever in our community," the petition says. "With the school board already reconsidering the name of Prince Andrew High School, this would be the opportune time to name one of our community schools after a real hero."
The petition is asking the Halifax Regional School Board and the Nova Scotia Department of Education to consider changing the name to Constable Heidi Stevenson High School.
In an email, a spokesman for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education said while it's understandable that people look for ways to memorialize the lives of those lost in times of "grief and sorrow," a process would have to be initiated in the future in order for a name change to happen.
"Our focus is on supporting our students and staff during these challenging times," said Doug Hadley. "There will be an opportunity when this is over to pause and reflect on how to best remember those lost to this senseless tragedy."
He said that in February, an advisory council asked the school community if there was a wish to initiate a process to change the school's name given the controversy surrounding Prince Andrew, and no conclusion was reached.
"That process is currently on hold while the school is closed due to COVID-19," he said.
The Education Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2020.
The Canadian Press