An Oregon school district has decided to remove the word “lynch” from three school names due to the negative association the word carries with lynching despite the fact that the schools were named after a family who donated land for the schools to be founded.
Lynch Meadows Elementary, Lynch Woods Elementary and Lynch View Elementary in the Centennial School District in Oregon will all undergo name changes after a successful campaign for change due to the negative associations of the word “lynch.” The schools were named after Patrick Lynch, a benefactor who donated land to establish the schools in the late 1800s.
At least in one case, the change is not drastic. Lynch View Elementary will be changed to Patrick Lynch Elementary. Despite this, some are questioning why the changes are necessary at all. “I think my grandfather would have liked me to stand up for the family name a little bit,” David Hayes, a descendant of Patrick Lynch, told a local news station. “[Schools] are in the business of education so they should be able to educate people that a name and history have a certain meaning versus what other people have tried to turn it into.”
“I’m just disheartened because where will it stop?” local resident Vicki Burnside told a local news station. “Any moment someone could be offended by any name. Do we keep changing the name of everything? That would be the question, right?”
Others in the community are behind the decision. District Superintendent Paul Coakley argues that because the district is has become increasingly diverse with regards to ethnicity, the change is necessary to ensure that they feel welcome. “Our diversity is increasing every year, with families coming in from Northeast Portland and out of state, so [the names] needed to be looked at,” Coakley said.
A young student at one of the schools affected by the changes defended the decision: ‘I know the majority of you guys are white and it’s hard to know how that word could have an effect but it does. If a simple name change could make students feel safe, then why are we holding back?’
This isn’t the first time there has a push to change a public school name. In 2016, the San Diego Unified School District pushed to change the name of the Robert E. Lee Elementary School.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org