In 2009, as the Kanawha County school board
prepared to open a new West Side Elementary School, someone hit upon the idea of having the students decide the school's name.
The top vote-getter was Barack Obama, followed by Isom Cabell, who was an early black educator in the county. River View Elementary and West Side Elementary also came up.
The name many people in the community favored was not listed. Mary C. Snow, the county's first black principal to lead an integrated school, was still alive and a bill was circulating in the Legislature to make living souls ineligible for such an honor.
Even after the school opened, the controversy continued. In the end, the school was renamed Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary.
Now the county is preparing to open its second new West Side elementary - this one to replace J.E. Robins and Watts elementaries - and the school board, sadder but wiser, has changed the naming procedure.
"It's one piece of the equation," said Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring.
The kids' vote should be a small piece of the equation. Adults, not children, should make such decisions.
A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Monday at Stonewall Jackson Middle School to help choose the name, colors and mascot of the new school.
The community should take full advantage of its opportunity to participate.