The Hopkins School Board at the June 1 meeting unanimously approved creating a committee tasked with recommending a new name for the building that is currently the Lindbergh Center.
The committee will be responsible for determining the process, soliciting and evaluating names and making a recommendation to the superintendent. The renaming is due to community member’s concerns over Charles Lindbergh’s antisemitism.
At its May 18 meeting, the board was presented with a report from the community education department and representatives from the city of Minnetonka and the Hopkins Schools community. The report summarized the work of a large group of people from Hopkins and Minnetonka who have been researching the name of the building and how it’s being experienced by community members, said Superintendent Rhoda Mhiripiri-Reed.
“The recommendation coming from that group is for the Hopkins School Board to authorize the launch of an official name change committee, which, if approved, we would do in partnership with the City of Minnetonka,” Mhiripiri-Reed said.
Board Chair Jen Bouchard said there is an opportunity for community input on the building’s new name.
“This would constitute ... significant investment, certainly financially, but also in terms of energy and psychologically and in terms of the culture that we’re trying to build here in Hopkins schools and throughout our entire community,” Bouchard said.
Minnetonka officials want official representation on the committee because the facility is jointly operated with the city, Bouchard said. Hopkins city officials also want representation.
“I think it could help kind of expand the scope, who we’re able to reach for input as well,” Bouchard said.
Boardmember Steve Adams said he spoke with leaders from the time when the name was assigned to the building. It was clear that not much thought was given to selecting the name, he said.
“I’ve heard from some of my Jewish colleagues and the community that they’re really looking forward to a renaming, so I look forward to proceeding with this whole process,” Adams said.
Boardmember John Kuhl said he and his family are members of Adath Jeshurun Congregation, which is across the street from the Lindbergh Center. Kuhl spoke with fellow members of the congregation for their perspective on the matter.
“This community feels that it is about time that this is addressed,” Kuhl said. “One of the very clear and straight responses was, ‘well, it’s about time that we are heard because we have been mentioning this and screaming it to ourselves for over 10 years.’”
Kuhl said that he hasn’t just heard from the Jewish community, but also members of other religions.
They feel it is good to address this type of situation so the precedent is set, he said.
“This is not the cancel culture, this is fixing something that probably should have never happened,” Kuhl said.
From her conversations with community members, Bouchard said it is obvious that the Lindbergh name, the man himself and his associations with white supremacy and Nazism have caused psychological harm to Jewish, BIPOC, disabled, neurodivergent and LGBTQ+ community members.
“I’d like to apologize for this harm,” Bouchard said. “I’m so hopeful that this collaborative renaming process ahead of us can be just one step toward repairing it ... I think this is really what it means to live up to our Vision 2031 values.”
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