Maplewood, NJ, to rename Jefferson school over slavery ties
A North Jersey elementary school will be renamed, school officials say, to severe ties to a former U.S, president who was a slave owner.
The South Orange Maplewood Board of Education gave unanimous approval to a resolution Monday to rename Jefferson Elementary School. The resolution made note of Thomas Jefferson's slave ownership claiming the third U.S. President was an “enslaver committed to upholding the institution of slavery.”
Board members have instructed the superintendent to include input from students as they search for a new name. One, they say, that will “ensure and model an inclusive, welcoming and respectful learning environment.”
The Board of Education will no longer hold up an enslaver as a role model for students of the South Orange Maplewood School District; and the Board of Education desires to adopt a new name for Jefferson Elementary School, to be selected with the involvement of Jefferson Elementary School students and the District’s student community at large - excerpt from Resolution 4190/South Orange Maplewood Board of Education
According to NJSpotlight.com, there are 24 schools in New Jersey named after founding father Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson was one of the most vocal opponents of slavery during the birth of America, and had promoted legislation outlawing it in his native Virginia. He is the founding father who wrote the words "all men are created equal," and believed slavery was the greatest threat to the new nation, calling it a "moral depravity' and a "hideous blot."
However, Jefferson was also a slave owner and profited greatly from it. The website Monticello.org estimated Jefferson enslaved more than 600 people over the course of his life.
The name change of the Maplewood school will not be immediate. Whatever new name is chosen will be take effect for the 2022-2023 school year. The school was still listed as Jefferson Elementary School on the district website this morning.
NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts
NJ arrests 31 accused child predators in "Operation 24/7"