“We are changing the name to go in a different direction because of the negative reports about Prince Andrew,” school principal Craig Campbell told CNN in an email. “We hope to build our identity as a positive and supportive school community with a name to match.”
Local residents will have the chance to submit name suggestions to a six-person name change committee that includes students, staff and community members. The top three names will then be recommended to the Halifax Regional Center for Education for final approval.
The school’s decision follows a ruling by a New York judge earlier this month that a civil suit against Prince Andrew could go ahead.
The 61-year-old royal is being sued by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges she was trafficked by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and forced to perform sex acts with the prince when she was 17. Prince Andrew has vigorously denied these allegations.
The allegations against the prince have tarnished his public reputation and prompted other members of the royal family to distance themselves from the Duke of York.
More recently, Prince Andrew was stripped of his honorary military titles and charitable works. A royal source has confirmed to CNN’s Max Foster that Prince Andrew will no longer use the “His Royal Highness” style in any official capacity.
The Canadian school joins a long list of institutions that have moved to cut ties with controversial namesakes in recent years.
Across the United States, school boards and districts have chosen to come up with new names for schools named after Confederate leaders or other public figures – like actor Bill Cosby, who had his name removed from buildings, workshops and a professorship as part of a criminal trial against him unfolded.