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The principal of Sir John A. Macdonald High School outside Halifax confirmed Thursday the school’s name will be changed because of the role Canada’s first prime minister played in developing the residential school system.

Darlene Fitzgerald said a letter would be sent to parents describing how Macdonald’s school policy for Indigenous children and passage of the Indian Act in 1867 caused irreparable harm to generations of Indigenous people.

“I truly feel that Indigenous students, when they see that name up above, it’s not giving them full inclusion,” Fitzgerald told The Canadian Press. “This is really a no-brainer for me.”

The priority for the school, which has just over 1,000 students, is creating an inclusive environment, she said. The school has about 30 Indigenous students.

All students were told about the change on Thursday.

“We strive every day to make sure that every student that walks through our door feels like they belong,” Fitzgerald said. “When you have a name like Sir John A. (Macdonald), and you have Indigenous students, that’s tough.”

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