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Cleveland is considering renaming 4 public schools. Who would you name them after?

Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Albert Bushnell Hart Elementary is among the four schools whose names will likely be changed by the fall. According to the CMSD website, Hart once wrote that "the Negro race, as a race, is inferior to the white, and that a mixture of the races in the South or elsewhere would mean a decline in civilization."

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is holding public meetings starting this week to discuss possible new names for four elementary schools currently named after men with racist pasts. The schools will likely have new names when children enter the buildings next fall.

The schools are Louis Agassiz, Albert Bushnell Hart and Patrick Henry elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy.  All the names were deemed inappropriate because of where these men stood on race and slavery. Jefferson and Henry were slaveholders. Hart and Agassiz believed Blacks were an inferior race.

Three meetings will be held for each school between Wednesday and March so that community members can be involved in the discussion and can potentially offer up names they think would make the community proud.

Some of the criteria for new names are people who’ve been deceased for at least five years and who preferably have made a contribution to Cleveland or CMSD. The district will not change a name based on a financial gift.

"The Board will consider the names of persons who are recognized by the general public and widely respected, who embody exemplary qualities that can serve as models of excellence, and who have made significant contributions to our nation, state or local community," according to a CMSD web page on the renaming of the schools.

Louis Agassiz Elementary meetings are from 5 - 6:30pm

  • Wednesday, February 9   
  • Wednesday, February 16
  • Wednesday, February 23

Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy meetings are from 5-6:30pm

  • Thursday, February 17
  • Thursday, February 24
  • Thursday, March 3

Albert Bushnell Hart Elementary meetings are from 5:30-7:00pm

  • Tuesday, February 22
  • Tuesday, March 1
  • Tuesday, March 8


Since this past summer, a CMSD working group has identified school names that were problematic based on specific criteria. The board will not consider renaming the schools after individuals who have enslaved others, were involved in slavery in any way or were involved in the oppression of minority groups, women and people of color. 

John Marshall High School and James Ford Rhodes High were also identified as problematic names and could undergo the same renaming process in the future.
Copyright 2022 WCPN. To see more, visit WCPN.

Jenny Hamel is the host of the “Sound of Ideas.”