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Corvallis school board considers renaming several elementary schools

The Corvallis School Board is weighing a resolution that would immediately change the names of three schools and trigger a review of all school names in the district.

Posted: Aug 1, 2020 4:32 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2020 6:12 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. --- The Corvallis School Board is weighing a resolution that would immediately change the names of three schools and trigger a review of all school names in the district.

The resolution, introduced by board member Vincent Adams, would remove the names of Jefferson Elementary, Hoover Elementary and Wilson Elementary.

Adams said he was prompted to introduce the resolution in light of recent protests across the nation over racial inequality as well as a decision by Princeton University to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from a public policy school and residential college.

The school board held a special meeting Thursday to consider the resolution. Adams said he reviewed the names of every school in the district before deciding on the three to be immediately removed.

Adams said Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover were openly racist and Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner.

Board members said students, especially those of color, should not have to attend a school named after someone who thinks of them as 'less than.'

“Buildings are being named, renamed all over the country. It just seems like high time. If we don't do it now, I would beg the question, when should we?” Adams said.

Some school board members said this is not about erasing history or taking away from the contributions these men made to society.

Board member Jay Conroy raised concerns about removing the names too quickly.

"When you're naming or renaming, you do some heavy-duty committee work and community input and you take some people's thoughts and then you bring back to the board some recommendations. But I don't think that's what this resolution is about,” Conroy said.

As for replacement names, the resolution would require at least one school in Corvallis to have a name that honors local indigenous people. Preference would be given to those who fought for social justice.

The board will discuss the resolution further at their meeting on Thursday August 6.

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