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Portland Schools Drop Donors' Name 'Lynch' Because It Sounds Racist

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While schools across the South have been stripping their names of references to Confederate generals, schools in Portland, Ore. will be dropping references to the last name “Lynch” because of its racial implications.

OregonLive reports three schools in southeast Portland will be getting rid of references to the word “Lynch,” the last name of the family that donated the land to build Lynch Meadows, Lynch Wood, and Lynch View elementary schools, because people interpret it as being racist.

Centennial School District Superintendent Paul Coakley claims the move to change the school name is coming as families moving into the area consider “Lynch” racist.

“There were an increasing amount of questions and some complaints from families of color around the name,” Coakley, who is African-American, said.

“Our diversity is increasing every year, with families coming in from Northeast Portland and out of state, so [the names] needed to be looked at,” he added.

According to OregonLive, the school district is currently 55 percent non-white, with Latinos being the largest minority, making up 27 percent of student enrollment. A decade ago, the district was 84 percent white.

Despite the changing racial demographics of the area, the OregonLive claims the “mostly-white” members of the Centennial School Board agreed to the name change. The board will reportedly pass a resolution to officially strip all references to the word “Lynch” from school signage, websites, and “oral references” on August 9.

Board Vice Chair Pam Shields said she is “very comfortable” with the name change as a way to make sure “that everybody feels like they belong to this district, and that we can put this potential negative behind us.”

OregonLive reports it would cost $2,000 to replace the signs at the schools.

While the move will change the names “for all public purposes” only, the board is also considering changing the names legally. Federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development use the full names, which would mean changing them officially will require a long, bureaucratic battle.

Coakley claims people will be “relieved” by the name changes.

School board chair Shar Giard agreed, saying there will “probably going to be a loud roar of agreement.”

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