Centennial School board drops 'Lynch' from two school names

Dozens of people signed up to voice their opinion Wednesday night during a Centennial School District board meeting to decide on renaming three schools to drop "Lynch" from their names. (Photo: Katherine Kisiel/KATU News)

The Centennial School District board voted Wednesday night to drop “Lynch” from the names of two schools.

Lynch Meadows Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School will now be called Meadows Elementary and Wood Elementary, for now. The board also decided that Lynch View Elementary School will be called Patrick Lynch Elementary.

The district has received several complaints over the years about the name "Lynch." Parents, students, faculty and staff have told the district the word has a negative association to it.

The schools were all named after Catherine and Patrick Lynch who donated the land for the schools more than a century ago.

Dozens of people lined up during Wednesday night’s board meeting to express their views, for and against the change.

"This proposal has been an embarrassment to the staff and the community as a whole," said one man who was against changing the names.

"The term itself is a term that's associated with terrorism -- terrorism of people who look like me, terrorism of my descendants," said another man.

The meeting was intense, and at one point the board asked someone to leave.

But the board made it clear that it believed its decision was a win-win.

"The Lynch family gave us our beginning, and we do need to honor them, and we understand how important that is," said board chair Sharlene Giard.

Even though Lynch Wood and Lynch Meadows will drop the name "Lynch" for now, Giard said from here onward the board welcomes input from the community to rename the schools.

"We are doing what we believe is right for our children. We have children of other colors and cultures, and we want to make sure they can cross the thresholds of those three schools and be comfortable in their surroundings," she said.

Board members don't know exactly how much this will cost, but said it will use all materials it has now before ordering more.

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