Schools

School Renaming: 105 Ideas Suggested To Replace Racist Honoree

AACPS announced the 105 suggestions to rename George Fox Middle School, which honors a man who made racist remarks.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education will rename Pasadena's George Fox Middle School.
The Anne Arundel County Board of Education will rename Pasadena's George Fox Middle School. (Google Maps)

PASADENA, MD — The Board of Education on Monday announced the 105 names suggested to rededicate Pasadena's George Fox Middle School. With a unanimous vote on March 17, board members disavowed the school's namesake, who openly opposed equal pay for Black teachers in a court case. Fox was the superintendent of Anne Arundel County Public Schools from 1916 to 1946.

Many of the name submissions recognized historical figures. Some of the pitches commemorated these icons:

  • Benjamin Banneker
  • Billie Holiday
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Christa McAuliffe
  • William Donald Schaefer
  • Harriet Tubman
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Martin Luther King
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Rosa Parks
  • Thurgood Marshall

Other entries appealed to local roads, waterways and communities. These ideas included:

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  • Magothy Middle School
  • Mountain Road Middle School
  • Northeast Middle School
  • Outing Ave. Community Middle School
  • Outing Avenue Middle School
  • Outing Middle School
  • P. City Middle School
  • Pasadena Cove Middle School
  • Pasadena Creeks Middle School
  • Pasadena Middle School
  • Pasadena Peninsula Middle School
  • Riviera Beach Middle School

Though most suggestions used historical and local landmarks, others didn't stray far from the school's current name. Eight options reference a fox, which is the school's mascot.

Glenna Blessing, principal of George Fox Middle School, hosted a virtual meeting on Wednesday to review the submissions. That discussion is posted at this link. The full list of submissions through April 7 is available here.

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Officials opened an inquiry into the school's name last July when protests against racial injustice swept the nation. A committee evaluated the pros and cons of renaming the building. The group ultimately recommended a switch, prompting the board vote.

"To have students sit in a building named for a man who championed Jim Crow and segregationist policies and structures does not align with the AACPS core value of All Means All," committee member Jamie Hurman-Cougnet told the board during the presentation.

AACPS will open voting for the new name at 9 a.m. on Monday. The ballots close at 5 p.m. on April 23.

The vote is only open to employees of George Fox Middle School and families who have students that are part of the Northeast High School feeder system. The electronic ballots will ask for an employee or student ID number. Only one vote is allowed per ID.

If no name gets more than 50 percent of the vote, AACPS will hold a runoff election. That second go would feature the 10 most popular names, including ties, or all of the entries that collect votes, whichever is fewer.

The winning name will go to the Board of Education in May. School officials must approve the final selection.


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