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Public should stake claim in school name

After stressing over the future of a new elementary school in Prineville the past year, school leaders have since crossed that hurdle, and they now turn their attention to naming the facility.

As the process unfolds, Crook County School District staff and school board directors have called upon a committee of a dozen local leaders and at least 16 names have already received consideration. Of those, none was chosen as the right fit and the search for names continues as school leaders are now consulting the public for suggestions.

This is a rare opportunity, and community members, particularly parents of students, should act on it. This school belongs to the students, present and future, as well as the rest of Crook County. As such, they should take ownership of the facility and pick a name that will represent the facility for the decades that follow.

Names listed by the committee thus far have sought to honor local personalities, prominent landmarks and geological and geographic features, as well as historic references. Only two, Barnes Butte and Iron Horse Elementary, rose to the top.

While we find no fault with either of these two names, these are essentially the only two options that the majority of the public has seen so far. Maybe people will like them, but if not, now is the time to weigh in and offer suggestions. We hope that residents will take the opportunity to do so.

Citizens have until Tuesday, April 8 to submit names. Our hope is that the committee have many viable options from which to select a name that will stick for decades. Typically, the more options people have, the greater the likelihood that they will end up with the best one.

Also, in the interest of picking the best possible name, we would strongly urge the school board to reconsider a naming policy that came to light during this recent process.

Board chair Patti Norris has said that they will not name a school after a person. She explained that someone important could get left out and it is therefore better to not go there at all. We disagree.

While it is true that an historical figure gets left out, there is really nothing wrong with that. For centuries, people have honored prominent men and women by naming a building, landmark, or even community after them.

If the majority can agree on a school name that honors a prominent Crook County individual, why not go with it? Perhaps someone gets left out, but on the flip side, someone else is given a special honor who may very well deserve it.

Hopefully, in the end, all of the committee and public input will result in a name that most people not only agree on, but embrace proudly for years to come.



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