The Board of Education voted on Tuesday to re-name the middle school based on student, staff, and community polling results. After July 1, the middle school will be known as Princeton Middle School. In polls, the most students voted for a non-person-specific name and Princeton Middle School was ultimately the most popular. The school has been known as Princeton Unified Middle School or PUMS, on a temporary basis, since last fall.
The Board chose a permanent name from a list of finalists that emerged after months of research and discussions by students and culminated in polls of middle school students, staff, and community members. Princeton Middle School was the name that was most popular among students, followed by The Walnut Street School. Princeton Community Middle School was the most popular among staff members and Princeton Middle School was the staff’s second choice.
In addition to selecting a new name for the middle school, the Board asked building administrators to honor the persons whose names were in consideration for the renaming by using their names in other places in the middle school building, including hallways and public spaces.
Educator and former enslaved person Betsey Stockton and community historian Shirley Satterfield are two individuals that may be honored as part of the renaming process. Other individuals that students proposed to honor include Paul Robeson, Michelle Obama, Albert Einstein, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
An exhibition in the middle school Learning Commons that shows the history of education in Princeton has been proposed as part of the re-naming. Funds to renovate a small wall in front of the school with the new name will be allocated.
At a previous Board meeting, the Board asked the middle school principal to survey students and staff regarding preferences among five names: Princeton Community Middle School, Princeton Middle School, Princeton United Middle School, The Princeton Middle School, and Walnut Lane Middle School.
A petition to change the name from John Witherspoon, a slave owner, was presented to the Board last August. The name Princeton Unified Middle School was selected as a temporary name.