Even though Chicago Board of Education policy already prohibits naming schools after living people, Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially ended his pursuit to dub a proposed new North Side high school Barack Obama College Prep.
Emanuel released a statement today citing community feedback as his reason for reconsidering the name.
“We take that community input seriously, which is why – as we continue to look for a thoughtful way to honor President Obama – we will look for other possible names for this future school,” Emanuel said in a statement to media.
Some community members on the South Side of the city were upset when Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools announced plans to build the new selective enrollment high school on the North Side. Those critics said a school named after the first African-American president should be built on South Side, where the president’s political career took off.
But Emanuel did not let up on his preference, until recently, even though Chicago Public Schools policy explicitly prohibits the naming of new schools after living people.
“Persons proposed for the school name must have been deceased for at least six months and should have made significant contributions to society,” according to Board report 03-0326-PO04 of the CPS policy handbook.
CPS did not immediately respond to requests to clarify how, given the policy, the new school could have been or would be named after a living person like Barack Obama.