Public input sought on proposal to rename School 12 in Rochester

May 21, 2018

The Rochester Board of Education held a public hearing Monday night on a proposal to rename James P.B. Duffy School No. 12.

The school sits on the site where Frederick Douglass lived in Rochester.

School Board President Van White says renaming the school after Douglass, or his wife Anna Murray-Douglass, or both, would be fitting.

It also presents an educational opportunity.

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"And I think that the way that can be done most effectively is not just changing the name of the building, but also offering up a way educationally for children to remember who Frederick Douglass and his family, who they were and what they stood for," he said.

White says in addition to offering an educational opportunity, a name change could also help School 12 move on after the Trevyon Rowe tragedy.

He was the special needs student whose body was found in the Genesee River after he wandered away from school in March.

"Trevyon's passing, may get the staff, the community, and of course the students an opportunity to sort of change their lens, their perspective on what has happened and focus, interestingly, on a person who is from our past to change their future," he said.

White says he has only heard one comment from a resident who feels changing the name might be seen as a slight to the family of James P.B. Duffy, for whom the school was named in 1972.