Centennial School Dist. votes to drop the name 'Lynch' from two - KPTV - FOX 12

Centennial School Dist. votes to drop the name 'Lynch' from two elementary schools

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Three schools in the Centennial School District have the name Lynch attached to them but after a majority vote Wednesday night, only one is getting to keep its name.

The vote comes after complaints from families and students saying the name makes them feel unsafe.

In the 1900's, Patrick and Catherine Lynch donated an acre of their property for a school to be built. They called it the Lynch School.

As the population grew so did the name -- Lynch Wood, Lynch Meadows and Lynch View. But over the years, some people have grown to question it's meaning.

"It has been a word historically linked to terror, to the terrorizing of the people that look like me," one person said during a community meeting held by the Centennial School District.

While others say the name should be cherished along with its history.

"From 1957 to this day, I can honestly say I've never heard the name Lynch associated with the history, rather the family who donated the land for our first school," said another person at the meeting.

The school district says they want to honor the family's history and have their students feel safe. With Wednesday's decision, they feel they've done just that.

"We are doing what we believe is right for our children. We have children of color and other cultures, and we want to make sure that they are able to cross this threshold of those three schools and be comfortable within their surroundings," said Sharlene Giard, Board Chair of Centennial School District.

The only school getting a new name at this time is Lynch View. It will become Patrick Lynch Elementary. The school district says they will have a temporary sign with the new name hanging over the old name.

For now, Lynch Wood will be known as Wood and Lynch Meadows as Meadows. These names are temporary until new names are chosen.

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