CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A nationally distinguished school in Westchester County could get a name change.
After doing some homework, a senior at Horace Greeley High School thinks the name should go, CBS2’s Scott Rapoport reported Monday.
For many, Horace Greeley High in Chappaqua is synonymous with academic excellence. It is widely regarded as one of the best high schools New York state.
But now, 17-year-old senior Jordan Klein has started a petition to strip the school of its name and perhaps the history that comes with it.
“I mean, Horace Greeley is still a part of the history of this town. You know, no matter whether we like what he did or didn’t,” resident Tom Lalla said.
Horace Greeley was well known as the founder and editor of the influential New York Tribune newspaper who vocally opposed slavery before and during the Civil War, and then later advocated for the right of black men to vote.
But in his online petition, Klein contends Greeley later made disparaging remarks about African-Americans, calling them a “worthless race.”
Klein also writes that Greeley said granting women the right to vote would be “unnatural.”
Gray Williams, the New Castle town historian, said Klein’s assertions about Greeley could have been taken out of context and need to be thoroughly vetted for accuracy before taken as absolute truth.
“The basic questions about Greeley’s integrity are so contrary to everything we know about Horace Greeley,” Williams said.
FLASHBACK: Horace Greeley Being Honored In Chappaqua
As you might suspect, all of this high school renaming talk has created some chatter of its own in Chappaqua.
“I don’t know. I couldn’t make a judgment. I think changing a school’s name takes an awful lot,” resident Sharon DeSalvo said.
“I like that young people are thinking in that direction, about openness and inclusion,” resident Stacey Slater added.
CBS2 wanted to know what the Chappaqua Central School District had to say about this. Superintendent Christine Ackerman told Rapoport she is proud that the students are advocating for causes they feel are important.
“However, changing the name of our high school would require a significant level of due diligence and discussion on this subject,” Ackerman said.
Klein plans to submit the petition at a Board of Education meeting on Oct. 30.