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Regina Catholic School Division ponders name change for Jean Vanier School

An internal report revealed Saturday Feb. 22, 2020, that L’Arche founder Jean Vanier, a respected Canadian religious figure, sexually abused at least six women.
An internal report revealed Saturday Feb. 22, 2020, that L’Arche founder Jean Vanier, a respected Canadian religious figure, sexually abused at least six women. Lefteris Pitarakis / The Canadian Press

The Regina Catholic School Division says it will begin looking at a possible name change for one of its schools after a report surfaced last month accusing Canadian Catholic figure Jean Vanier of sexually abusing at least six women.

The school division says it will start early discussion on renaming Jean Vanier School at its board meeting on Tuesday night.

“At this point, the board and our senior administration will begin conversations with the Archdiocese and with the school community to see what the school community needs,” said Twylla West, Regina Catholic School Division spokesperson.

READ MORE: ‘Deep wounds’: Respected Canadian Catholic figure sexually abused women, report finds

“It’s a long process to change the name of a school. It’s not just a hammer, chisel, take one name down, and put the new sign up. There’s a lot more that goes into it with policy and procedure.”

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According to a report released by L’Arche International on Feb. 22, there was enough evidence to show that Vanier engaged in “manipulative sexual relationships” over a period from 1970 to 2005, usually with a “psychological hold” over the alleged victims.

“First and foremost, our prayers and thoughts go out to all of the victims involved and to all victims of sexual abuse,” West said.

“The courage that they showed in coming forward is considerable and admirable.”

READ MORE: New plaques finalize Regina school’s name change from Davin to The Crescents

Vanier was the founder of L’Arche, an organization providing a community to those living with intellectual disabilities.

The report indicated that none of his alleged victims was disabled. Vanier died last year at age 90.

If the school board decides to make the change, it would not be the first Regina school to do so in recent memory.

In June 2019, Davin School was renamed to The Crescents School. Davin School was named after Nicholas Flood Davin, the author of a report that led to the creation of residential schools.

— With files from The Associated Press

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Jean Vanier, advocate for disabled, dies at 90
Jean Vanier, advocate for disabled, dies at 90