Over the objections of several Statham residents, the Barrow County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to name the new middle school in that city after a nearby reservoir and creek rather than for a respected African-American educator. In a community survey last May, the name, “LaFar D. Sims Middle School,” received the largest number of the 200 votes in that survey. Sims was the first principal of Glenwood Elementary and High School, a segregation-era school that in 1970 merged with Winder-Barrow Middle School. The Statham facility in August will replace WBMS.
However, in a second survey in February, most of the 650 participating students said they preferred the name, “Bear Creek Middle School.” They chose that name by a 10:1 margin over the Sims alternative. Based on the students’ preference, the WBMS school governance team recommended the Bear Creek name.
However, in a March 4 letter to the BOE, Johnnie Ellington, president of the Barrow County NAACP, said the students’ survey was a “farce.”
For the full story, see the March 6 issue of the Barrow Journal.