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The Last Name ‘Lynch’ Was Dropped from School Names for Being Too Offensive

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Three schools in Portland, Oregon are getting a name change because parents complained their names evoked the practice of lynching. Lynch Meadows Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School are dropping the name “Lynch” completely, while Lynch View Elementary will now be called Patrick Lynch Elementary. The Centennial School Board voted for the name change Wednesday, according to a KGW report.

“We have an equity plan in place in Centennial and we are doing what we believe is right for our children,” board chair Sharlene Giard told the outlet. “We have children of color and we want to make sure they can cross the threshold of those three schools and be comfortable in their surroundings.”

The names didn’t come from the lynching, a practice of extrajudicial murder, but from Catherine and Patrick Lynch, a couple who donated land to the district in 1900.

“I think my grandfather would have liked me to stand up for the family name a little bit,” great-great-grandson David Hayes told KGW. He said the schools “are in the business of education so they should be able to educate people that a name and history have a certain meaning versus what other people have tried to turn it into.”

The origin of the term lynching is pretty murky. The only thing people agree on that it came from someone named Lynch. Was it from an Irish mayor in the 15th century? Did it come from a Revolutionary War colonel? That’s been up for debate. Safe to the say it has nothing to do with the couple linked to these schools.

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