Education

Minnesota School Drops Former President James Monroe’s Name Over Slavery

SHUTTERSTOCK/ Brendan Howard

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter

A Minnesota school board voted 6-1 to drop former President James Monroe’s name from a school and two of its buildings over his ownership of slaves Tuesday.

Linwood Monroe Arts Plus, formerly Monroe High, will now be known as Global Arts Plus, after the Saint Paul School Board voted to change the name, the Star Tribune reported Tuesday.

One of the school buildings bearing Monroe’s name housed Pre-K to fourth grade while the other was for fifth through eighth graders, Director of Communications for Saint Paul Public Schools Kevin Burns told The Daily Caller News Foundation over email Wednesday.

Parents originally came up with the idea and not the board, Burns added.

“The process to arrive at this name began with the understanding and recognition that the name ‘Monroe’, after slave-owner James Monroe, did not deserve such a place of honor–that such a name does not reflect the values and aspirations of our diverse school, our school of immigrants, our school where all are welcome and all come to experience the promise of the arts and of an education,” Burns said.

Board member John Brodrick was the only one to vote against the provision, saying it’s “a very significant and important move” to get rid of a president’s name from a school, according to the Pioneer Press.

Supporters of the change wanted the school to reflect diversity and were troubled by the former president owning slaves, according to the Tribune. Those against the move wanted officials to follow a policy requiring broader alumni and community insight.

Patrick Fleury, a 1966 Monroe High graduate, thought the name change would waste tax dollars as it could cost nearly $13,000, the Press reported.

“Ask them to raise their own money and then we can have this conversation,” Fleury said, according to the Press.

The name change goes into effect on July 1, Burns said.

Monroe served as the fifth U.S. president between 1817 and 1825.

Many schools have recently changed their names over ties to slavery or the Confederacy. (RELATED: New York Teacher On Leave After Mock Slave Auction)

Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Virginia, changed from Washington-Lee to remove the name of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Dixie School District in California also decided to change its name to remove a Confederate reference.

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