As of last night, the school formerly known as Webster Magnet Elementary will be named Barack and Michelle Obama Service Learning Elementary. Staff and students had voted on the name change earlier this month, and last night the School Board ratified their decision in a 5-1 vote. The school is in it's first year of a service learning program and the community wanted a name change to reflect the change in direction. But it sparked a heated debate among parents about whether it was premature to name the school after a President who has been in office nary four months. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
Tom Conlon, the board's lone Republican, opposed the change. The school's history "is being taken away from them," said Conlon, who had suggested that the school name a room or part of the school after Obama, "and I think that's tragic." About a dozen community members spoke to the board about the name changing, voicing opinions ranging from calling Obama a socialist, to suggesting that the board wait until he is out of office to change the name, to saying that becoming the first African-American president is a worthy enough accomplishment to name a school after him.
One board member told the paper that the kids were inspired by Obama, and it was fitting to name the school in a manner that inspires and motivates students. After attending a school named after a convent in Italy, your Gaggler has no real feelings on the matter, except perhaps relief that none of Rod Blagojevich or Eliot Spitzer's constituents wanted to name schools after them in their first few months in office.