Bill Fletcher, a veteran member of the Wake County school board, is right in his hesitation to to use a policy that allows schools to be named for individuals and families. He knows well that such a policy can create all kinds of what he calls “angst” for the board and the community, with individuals and groups campaigning for people to be so recognized.
That’s why Fletcher, a thoughtful board member, is hesitant to follow the wishes of a group of eighth graders at The Exploris School who want a school in Wake County to be named for the family of Joe Holt Sr. and Elwyna Holt, who attempted to integrate the Raleigh schools in 1956.
Fletcher’s point is well-meaning. But sometimes, exceptions are warranted.
This proposal from the students has merit, and the school board ought to give it serious consideration.
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First, these students have done admirable research on a historic issue, school integration. They’re to be admired and congratulated for their tenacity and their commitment. Their work should be an example to other students in other schools that they can, even in their mid-teens, make a difference in their communities.
Second, in recognizing the Holts, the board would not be bending to pressure from the friends of an influential person, for example, to name a school. Rather, the board would be recognizing a family’s courageous contribution. And it was, make no mistake, courageous.