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May 8, 2013

North Park renaming committee coming May 22

Lockport City Schools Board of Education expected to name members at next meeting

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

A committee charged with looking at the possible renaming of North Park Junior High School is expected to be established by the Lockport City Schools Board of Education at its next meeting on May 22.

Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said the creation of the committee and the naming of its members is on the agenda for the board meeting that night.

"It's anticipated the board will take action," Bradley said.

The committee will include Trustee Jon A. Williams and North Park Principal James Snyder, a teacher, a student and a community member. It's expected that'll it will take no longer than six months for the committee's work to be complete and a recommendation made.

The board would have to approve a new name with a two-thirds vote.

The idea of renaming the school came before the board about a year ago, when a group of residents made a request that North Park Junior High School be renamed in honor of Aaron A. Mossell, an African-American businessman who was instrumental in desegregating Lockport schools.

He pressed the Lockport school board for five years to allow his children to attend a school closer to home, instead of the school for blacks that was miles away. He succeeded in 1876, almost 80 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that desegregated schools across the country.

Most of Lockport’s buildings are named after an individual, such as John Pound, a former Board of Education president and Washington Hunt, a governor and first Niagara County Court judge. The only two without a person’s name are Lockport High School and North Park.

North Park opened as an elementary school in 1940 on Passaic Avenue. It was a middle school until the district reorganized, moving all seventh- and eighth-graders to North Park and calling it a junior high school.

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