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Patrick Henry Students, Staff Seek To 'Change The Name'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Students and staff at Patrick Henry High School are meeting with members of the community to discuss a proposed name change.

We told you last week about the movement to change the name of the north side high school. That story generated response from both sides of the issue.

The "Change the Name" movement has lots of support, but there are those who feel the school's name should not be changed.

"We started this campaign back in September," said Enitan Yarbrough.

Enitan Yarbrough is a teacher who is advising this group of students in their quest to change the name of their high school.

"Informing people of the name and who Patrick Henry was and the kids did presentations. They did assemblies and they reached out to the community," Yarbrough said.

The faces that make up the movement say when they tell others that Patrick Henry was a slave owner, it helps them understand why they want a name change.

Patrick Henry is 90 percent students of color. More than 50 percent of the student population is black. Most here feel the name does not represent the student body.

"Ramsey Middle School in south Minneapolis, they got their school's name changed to Justice Page Middle School. That was about one or two years ago, and we are following almost the exact same procedure and process for that," said Janaan Ahmed.

Students are following the template left behind by students and staff at Justice Page Middle School. They successfully led a campaign to change the name from Ramsey Middle School.

The process is laid out by the school district on how to go about changing the name of a school.

"This is a high school, there might be a little more attachment to the name," said Yarbrough.

After this meeting, alumni and community will be asked to complete a survey about their position on the name change. Then they will compile a list of the top five names.

Another survey will cut that list to three, and in April, the site committee will formally ask for a name change to the superintendent. The group will continue to accept name recommendation forms until the end of the month.

One of the most popular names: Unity High School. The superintendent and school board will have the final say. Members of #ChangeTheName movement believe they should know by late May if the school will get a name change.

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