This map, created by Matt Grande, shows which of Hamilton’s secondary schools are closing (red) and staying open (green). It’s making the rounds with the latest article by Matt Jelly regarding the Board’s most recent list of school closures and plans to move their headquarters to the south mountain. Sir John A. MacDonald, Delta, Parkview, Barton, Hill Park, Mountain, Parkside and Highland are set to close, among a list of around thirty in total. The recent completion of the South ARC review process, choosing to close Barton, Hill Park and Mountain instead of say Ancaster or Westmount, only continued the ugly trends
seen north of the Escarpment. Not surprisingly,

Here are a few other maps, from the Spectator’s Code Red series and the Hamilton Community Foundation’s “Vital Signs” report. Do you see any similarities?

Income Disparity statistics and Maps – Hamilton Vital Signs
Code Red Maps – Hamilton Spectator

Many protesters attended board meetings the other night, from regular fixtures of local anti-poverty protests to students from the schools affected. This wasn’t the first protest the old board headquarters has seen recently, and I doubt it will be the last. Everyone I’ve talked to over this issue, from every walk of life, has been utterly dismayed by these decisions, and it will take more than promises of a few new modern super-schools to quell the ire which is now rising. If City and Board officials thought these schools and neighbourhoods would be politically “easy” targets, then they may well be in for something of a surprise.

A lot of talk has gone into the task of making Hamilton the “best place to raise a child”. It isn’t. The very phrase is both laughable and offensive, especially to anyone trying to raise kids within the boundaries of Queen, Parkdale, Mohawk and the bay. These areas are already suffering with the legacy of decades of neglect, which in many neighbourhoods (like mine), has led to horrific levels of poverty. Hamilton’s inner-city is the ‘elephant’ in our ‘room’. Try as we might to ignore it, our city will never overcome our “image problem” while these ghetto scenes remain. This problem was created by an exodus of housing, jobs, services, and investment – a pattern recent Board decisions fit perfectly. The more things change, I suppose, the more they stay the same.

If we really want to make this city “the best place to raise a child”, we can set an example by valuing children from Barton St. E. every bit as we do those from Westdale and Ancaster.