MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The name “Monroe” will no longer be at one dual-campus St. Paul public school.
The move follows the local and national trend of removing controversial names relating to slave ownership from landmarks.
St. Paul Board of Education members approved a motion to give Linwood Monroe Arts Plus a new name in a six-to-one decision. The school will now be known as Global Arts Plus.
The motion also included provisions to find another way to honor former school’s legacy, and to give the district’s name change policy a second look. This movement was pushed by parents, students and staff at the school.
“I do not want our school to be named after someone who does not reflect our school community at all,” said student Vita Hochuli.
There was also a strong and passionate display of alumni at the meeting, adorned in school colors for the meeting.
“It’s not the taxpayer’s financial responsibility to make some people feel better about themselves because they are embarrassed about America’s past mistakes,” said alumnus Patrick Fleury. “Self-loathing has become en vogue.”
Al Hanzal, who graduated from Monroe High School in 1960, says 700 people signed a petition to stop the name change. The school’s principal, Dr. Bryan Bass, claims the name change will cost just under $13,000 — but Hanzal doesn’t buy it.
“When you put in uniforms, chiseling off names of the school, all the library books have to be changed, stationary, new letters, its far more than $12,000 budget,” Hanzal said.
The push to remove controversial names from local schools isn’t limited to St. Paul. A similar situation played out in Minneapolis at Patrick Henry High School. That name change was approved, but is still in limbo.
The cost to change the name on everything from the gymnasium to the buildings was estimated to cost $50,000.