When unveiling the project with great fanfare back in April, the president’s former Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced that a new Chicago high school would be named for Barack Obama.
A number of schools across the country have been named for Obama, but this was to be the first in his home state of Illinois. The operative word in the previous sentence — WAS.
The Chicago Tribune now reports that, without any fanfare whatsoever, Emanuel let it be known that Obama’s name will not adorn the new $60 million high school.
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In announcing the decision, Mayor Emanuel indicated it was the result of community input…in other words, the people didn’t want Barack Obama’s name on their new school.
“Over the last few months, my team has listened to questions and concerns from the community, ranging from location of the building to the naming of the school. 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.
Given the coverage of this development in the New York Daily News, one must ask how long it might be before cries of racism fill the Chicago air.
Two sources confirmed to The Daily News that the Chicago Board of Education has quietly decided to not go ahead with plans for the name of a new so-called selective enrollment public high school on the city’s predominantly white North Side.
The board has a policy that does not allow schools to be named after those who are still living. It will cite that stricture as reason for the about-face.
It’s not as though President Obama has been overlooked when it comes to the naming of schools. As ABC News noted even back in 2010:
He has been in the White House 18 months, but President Obama already has seven U.S. schools named after him, far more than his predecessor George W. Bush and a designation that educators say bucks the trend.
Still, given the fact that this about-face has happened in the city where Barack Obama started his political career, one might suppose the sting of rejection for the president could be rather painful.