Naming debate surrounds Raleigh high school

Posted June 29, 2010

— Wake County's school board chairman said Tuesday there's been no formal move to take a vote on changing the name of William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, despite mounting protest and growing concerns.

"I think it is something that has been blown out of proportion, as to the possibility of changing," Chairman Ron Margiotta said. "I just don't see it happening."

At a school board committee meeting on June 22, Timothy Tyson, a Duke University research scholar, and Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, spoke about segregation, pointing to Enloe, a former Raleigh mayor, as someone who was in favor of segregation.

As a result, school board members say they are looking at how schools are named.

"I think we're doing some research on schools to see if they're named after some bad people," Margiotta said.

But Enloe High School students and alumni, fearful the board might change the school's name, have started an online campaign to keep the name.

More than 800 people opposed to a name change have joined a group on Facebook

"It's a nationally ranked school," Enloe student Jared Dmiszewicki said. "People recognize us. They know it's a great school. Changing its name would give it a whole new meaning."

Critics of the Wake County Board of Education, such as the NAACP, say the move to look at schools' names is an effort to distract the public from a controversial board decision to move away from a decade-long student assignment policy that buses students to achieve socio-economic diversity.

The board plans to implement a new assignment policy that places students in schools closer to their homes in an effort to boost student achievement.

The new assignment plan is more than a year away from implementation, but opponents, including the NAACP, believe it will re-segregate schools, create pockets of poverty in the community and lead to high teacher turnover.

NAACP members say they are not advocating a name change.

"I think it is one of their strategic plans they put in place to divide the community, take us off the main issue, which is we do not want our schools re-segregated," said Portia Rochelle, president of the Wake County chapter of the state NAACP. "We did not ask for Enloe High School to be renamed."

Barber said the Enloe segregation issue that Tyson mentioned was meant to put historical context to school segregation in Wake County, not to advocate changing the school's name.

"We're trying to teach people there's a history here," Barber said. "If you understand the history, you want to keep socioeconomic diversity."

Margiotta said that by bringing up the diversity debate, others are creating a distraction from the board's primary focus, which is improving academic achievement.


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  • Bulldog22 Jul 1, 2010

    @ phrostbite- Wake County schools long ago ended the naming of schools after people. Any school in Wake County that was named after a person was done so way back before the mid 1970's. there has not been a single school to open in Wake County since 1978 that was named for a person, all have been named for roads, streets, communities etc since then.

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 30, 2010

    If you graduated from Barber High, please hold your hand up high. That way we can walk around you when we see you out in public. The rest of us are not good enough for you Barber Gards!

  • dissatisifiedwitheverything Jun 30, 2010

    Since GOLO wouldn't post my other comments, I'll try again.
    Rev. Barber is a racist, pure and simple. The only thing he does is stir up trouble. WRAL you make me sick. Your writers don't have sense enough to spell or use proper grammar, yet you won't print a comment because YOU feel that it is not appropriate. I suggest you all head back to school for some English classes.

  • chichi Jun 30, 2010

    I agree with melvinb "I have NEVER in my lifetime encountered a more thoroughly biased, racist, to-be-pitied, non-caring, egotist than the "Reverend" William Barber....unless it would be the pseudo-educator Timothy Tyson! The greatest contribution to the cause of Christianity, education, and equality in North Carolina would be the effective "muzzling" of those two manical antagonists.

    The sooner Duke wipes their plate of Tyson the better off they will be.

  • dib Jun 30, 2010

    How's about Bank Of America High School or Old Navy High School?

  • Phrostbite Jun 30, 2010

    Now see, we do need to stop naming schools after folk because many of them will eventually have skeletons come out of their closets. I favor naming schools based on location (Central Raleigh High, Five Points Elementary, Western Blvd. Middle). It avoids showing any biase towards the positions/stances/ideology of individuals.

  • Sir Narron OF Johnston Jun 30, 2010

    what about william Barber high school ..? maybe those little high school hippies would like that. you know since they want to make sure things are diverse ?

  • scorekeep Jun 30, 2010

    If the NAACP wants to do it right-ban the US Flag. Slavery was alive and well under this flag and flourished for quite some time. Northern port cities were also the sites of slave trading/selling, it is not a simply a "Southern" deal.

  • Sir Narron OF Johnston Jun 30, 2010

    we salute Charles B Aycock ...the education governor

  • wakeconative4ever Jun 30, 2010

    They are doing more to promote re-segregation than anyone in the past 60-75 years

    I couldn't agree with you more!!! Who wants to be around people who act they way they do? I don't!!!