Graphic by Mark Schaefer
Following Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro’s recommendation to change Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School’s (MS) name, the Board of Education (BOE) has asked for a review of existing school names to “ensure that all names are appropriate candidates for school facilities,” according to a Feb. 26 Bethesda Magazine article.
Navarro proposed the name change based on Lee’s history as a Maryland politician, which included implementing racist housing policies that forced minorities from buying or renting homes in some subdivisions. The BOE unanimously voted for a resolution to create a committee to suggest new names for Lee MS at a Feb. 25 meeting where they also asked for a review for the rest of the 206 MCPS schools.
“There are concerns about some of our school names and I think this is an important and positive initiative for the board to look at that hasn’t been done, as far as I know, ever,” District 2 BOE member Rebecca Smondrowski said to Bethesda Magazine.
Although there are no guidelines that specify what an “appropriate” school name is, it is important that the school communities know the historical context behind the school names, District 3 BOE member Pat O’Neill said.
“I think reevaluating the appropriateness of school names is a good idea because you want every school to reflect the values of our county and if there’s something offensive or unwelcoming about the name it should be at least talked about,” junior Emma Clark said.