After 90 minutes of passionate citizen testimony and board discussion, the Centennial School Board voted unanimously to rename Lynch View Elementary School Patrick Lynch Elementary School and to study renaming Lynch Wood and Lynch Meadows elementary schools. The board considered the name changes because of concern over the racial and violent overtones of the word "lynch."
The schools include the name Lynch to honor a family that donated land to the district for a school in 1900. But, some argued that as the district has become more racially diverse, some students and families felt unsafe in a building called "lynch."
More than 100 people gathered in the uncomfortably hot and stuffy Centennial High School cafeteria for the Wednesday, Aug. 9, school board meeting. The meeting had to be moved to from the usual small room at district headquarters to the high school cafeteria because of the expected high attendance at the meeting.
The board allowed each side to 15 minutes to give testimony and both sides time was up before everyone who wanted to had a chance.
Comments flooded onto social media and into the school district after The Outlook and other news organizations reported on the possible name change. An overwhelming majority of the comments were against the change.
But, ultimately, the board voted to rename Lynch View, 1546 S.E. 169th Place, and call it Patrick Lynch Elementary School.
The board decided that Lynch Wood, 3615 S.E. 174th Ave., and Lynch Meadows Elementary School, 18009 S.E. Brooklyn St., "will now do business as Wood Elementary and Meadows Elementary while a team of district representatives, families and community members, with guidance from the Department of Justice, will form a committee to work on the renaming of these schools by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
For more complete coverage, see the Friday, Aug. 11, Outlook.