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July 4, 2020

Kannapolis’ Woodrow Wilson Elementary renamed

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis City Board of Education on Monday voted to change the name of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School to North Kannapolis Elementary School.

The new name is a reference to how the school was referred to while it was being planned for construction in 1915. It was built in 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was a politician who spent some of his formative years in North Carolina and became the 28th president of the United States. Wilson oversaw the resegregation of some federal offices, and his legacy has been questioned because of racist statements and policies. A petition on Change.org circulated and garnered more than 1,000 signatures to remove “his name from all Kannapolis institutions.”

In removing his name from its school, the Kannapolis City School Board joined Princeton University, which decided to remove Wilson’s name from its School of Public and International Affairs.

“Not only today, but I’m always proud to be a part of a board that wants to do the right thing,” KCS Chair Todd Adams said in a statement. “The change represents Kannapolis City School’s ongoing efforts towards promoting inclusive spaces for students, staff and families.”

KCS Superintendent Chip Buckwell said these are important issues and the district needs to listen and respond in ways that lead it forward.

“We as a district should reflect our students and community,” Buckwell said. “KCS remains dedicated to our work towards antiracist, culturally responsive practices.”

Buckwell said the idea to change the name was new, but that the district was prepared to make the change going into the meeting. The decision was unanimous.

“I think this is the right thing to do, I think this is the right time to do it, I think it was right before now,” Buckwell said.

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