St. Paul School to be Renamed to Erase Name of President Monroe Based on him Owning Slaves in the Early 1800’s

The St. Paul school board voted 6-1 on Jun. 18 to change the name of Linwood Monroe Arts Plus, what used to be Monroe High School, to Global Arts Plus.

Monroe Community School via Pioneer Press

The desire to change the name of the school stems from the fact that James Monroe, the 5th president of the United States, was a slave owner during the time in America when slavery was legal.

The one St. Paul School Board member to oppose the changing of the name was John Brodrick who said it is “a very significant and important move” to remove a United States Presidents name from a school, arguing that the process should not be rushed.  

Many of the school’s alumni and previous staff objected to the name of the school being changed and said that there was little compromise coming from proponents of the name being changed. One individual who had been an employee at Monroe for 25 years, Dave Bredemus, said that while the new name may be more fitting for the “school community”, it would not reflect the desires of the community at large.

The Alumni of Linwood Monroe Arts Plus argue that the school officials have failed to follow policy that demands broad alumni and community input. In 2018, more than 700 community members signed a petition to keep the Monroe name on the school as Al Hanzal, a 1960 graduate, noted before the meeting began on Jun 18.

The school claims it is facing severe budget deficit as well as an intense student enrollment shortfall but still sees re-naming the school as a top priority.

The school says it is still working on a way to honor the Monroe name without honoring President James Monroe Himself, who was president from 1816 to 1824.

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