Local school district exploring changing names of three schools that include 'lynch'

Centennial School District is considering changing the names of three elementary schools whose names include the word "lynch" (Photo: KATU News).

The Centennial School District, located in SE Portland and Gresham, is exploring changing the names of three schools that now include the word "lynch."

According to a letter from the school district's board, "many students, staff and families" have expressed concern at the use of the word "lynch." It has a negative connotation as it's associated with lynching.

The three schools involved are Lynch Meadows, Lynch View and Lynch Wood.

The school board will decide on Aug. 9 whether to legally drop "lynch" from each school name, or on their own accord and choice, the individual schools can informally drop the name.

Jeremy Montgomery's son attends Lynch View Elementary School.

“My son started last year. We went to the opening assembly and the principal announced the school as View Elementary School, so I got the hint that it might be a little sensitive to people,” Montgomery said. “I personally don't see the big deal in it, but at the same time, if people are offended by it, I don't see the big deal of changing it."

All three schools were named after the Lynch family.

“See, I didn't even know that. If people were more open to that and knew that, I couldn't see it being a problem at all,” Montgomery said.

Tom Singerhouse lives near Lynch View and attended the school more than 50 years ago.

“I lived here, I went there, I stayed here. I would like to see [the name] stay as is,” Singerhouse said.

He says teachers should be teaching their students about the significance of the Lynch family.

“I think that's the most important part. I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings,” Singerhouse said.

Montgomery agrees, and said he'd rather his first-grader know where the name came from.

“Then they understand where Lynch came from, that it's a family’s last name instead of it being negative,” Montgomery said.

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