by Sam Hieb
By a 9-2 margin, the Guilford County Board of Education voted Thursday night to rename Aycock Middle School. Board members Linda Wellborn and Rebecca Buffington were the ‘no’ votes.
You’ve heard it before—-Aycock Middle School — like the former Aycock Auditorium over at UNCG—was named after Gov. Charles B. Aycock—a strong advocate for public education who was also a white supremacist:
The issue, said Amos Quick, the school board’s vice chairman, is whether a name should remain on a building the school system owns and holds up “to our community and the world as one that reflects our community, values and standards.”
It’s about the honest retelling of history, about moral accountability and setting an example, several school board members said.
“We must take sides,” board member Sandra Alexander said, quoting the late Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and activist. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. … Silence encourages the tormented, not the tormentor.
“We have got to stand boldly against that kind of ugliness on principle and whenever it is made clear that has happened,” she said. “We should not continue to dignify the names of those who are so guilty of forcing others to suffer indignities.”
Aycock’s actions and political stances had far-reaching consequences, Alexander said. The board, she said, was “morally compelled” to stand against it.
As you can probably imagine, N&R ed page editor Allen Johnson supports the board’s vote then ponders the whether or not the neighborhood named after Aycock will follow suit:
Meanwhile, the Aycock neighborhood faces a decision: Keep the name or follow the lead of UNC-Greensboro, which dropped the name of Aycock from its iconic auditorium, and the Guilford County Board of Education in voting 9-2 to change the middle school name.
I sense that they are divided.
But their decision is up to them, not the school board or the general public.
It will be interesting to see what they do.
But will the decision ultimately be the neighborhood’s? For starters, the N&R reports the majority of people surveyed by GCS wanted to keep the Aycock name, sparse thought the response was. Yet the board ignored that response and voted to rename anyway, apparently forgetting that they work for the taxpaying public, not the other way around.
As we see time and again liberal groups have ways of bringing to pressure bear to influence decisions over which they have no direct control. So with that in mind, it will indeed be interesting to see what happens to the neighborhood that carries Aycock’s name and houses the school that will no longer bear his name.