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Renaming Salem's Witchcraft Heights Elementary

Posted by Sean Teehan  March 22, 2011 02:10 PM

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A member of Salem's School Committee proposed the city rename Witchcraft Heights Elementary School to honor a deceased long-time city councilor.

Committee member James Fleming made the suggestion at last night's regularly scheduled School Committee meeting, saying they should name the school after former Ward 4 City Councilor Leonard O'Leary, who died in 2007.

"That facility is the only school in our district that's not named, that school carries a witchcraft type of name," Fleming told the committee, noting those from communities outside Salem may not understand the Witch City reference. "I think it's an appropriate change that that building be renamed the 'Leonard O'Leary Elementary High School.'"

Fleming cited O'Leary's more than 20 years serving on the City Council and advocacy for the city's schools as reasons for the name change.

"He was a friend of education and a strong supporter of any budget that this committee or any previous committee has ever brought into the Salem City Council," Fleming said.

Fleming also spoke to City Council President Jerry Ryan about the proposal in the past month, he said. The name-change may be a topic of discussion at an upcoming City Council meeting, Fleming added.

At Fleming's suggestion, the School Committee voted the proposal go to the Buildings and Grounds subcommittee for further discussion.

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