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

Over the past few years, state lawmakers have taken on the challenge of dealing with accused child predators among the ranks of teachers and educators.

In 2018, the so-called “pass the trash” law went into effect, requiring stricter New Jersey school background checks related to child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The follow individuals were arrested over the past several years. Some have been convicted and sentenced to prison, while others have accepted plea deals for probation.

Others cases are still pending, including some court delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NJ arrests 31 accused child predators in "Operation 24/7"

A roundup of 31 men have been accused of sexually exploiting children online, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on July 14 while detailing "Operation 24/7."

The suspects “possessed and or distributed videos and images of child sexual abuse, including in many cases videos of young children being raped by adults,” Grewal said.

Chat apps and gaming platforms remain favorite hunting grounds for child predators and even as the pandemic winds down, many children have continued to spend more time online.

State Police received 39% more tips in just the first 6 months of 2021 than they received in the entire year in 2019. The following are suspects charged in "Operation 24/7."


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