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School board votes to change the name of St. Paul school

June 18, 2019 10:41 PM

At its Tuesday night meeting, the St. Paul School Board voted to change the name of Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus.

The change came after a community group raised concerns with the legacy of the school's namesake, President James Monroe.

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The fifth U.S. President, Monroe, as with other earlier leaders in the county, was known for owning slaves.

“I do not want our school to be named after someone who does not represent our school community at all,” said Vita Hochuli, a student who spoke at the board meeting.

RELATED: Alumni group attempts to delay name change of St. Paul school

According to a KSTP reporter at the meeting, the board approved to change the school's name to Global Arts Plus during a 6-1 vote.

A committee was formed last year to look at alternatives. Current LMAP students, their parents and staff voted on the list of new names.

“We come from all over the world and all neighborhoods of St. Paul,” said Joelle Hochuli, another student.

Some alumni argued they were left out of the conversation.

One man who spoke said he was invited to weigh in at a committee meeting.

“The people there were not really interested in any compromise, any input and I quickly realized the people at the committee were all good people but they were not part of the community,” he said.

A portion of the school board debate focused on whether there should be more community input ahead of the final vote.

The district said it will continue to work with alumni and the community to find another way to honor Monroe's name.

"The gravity of this decision is significant,” said Dr. Bryan Bass, the principal. “I don’t want anyone in the room who is alumni of the high school to feel that I don’t understand the gravity or the experience of what it meant to be part of that community.”

The change-over is expected to cost $12,888. A district spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there is no timeline for when that process will start.

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