June 17, 2021

Middle School Has New Name Starting July 1

By Donald Gilpin

Formerly John Witherspoon Middle School, currently Princeton Unified Middle School, the public school on Walnut Street will be called Princeton Middle School starting July 1.

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education voted Tuesday night, June 15, on the renaming, culminating a ten-month educational research project and the polling of students, staff, and the community.

The students voted for a non-person-specific name, and Princeton Middle School was the most popular choice. In addition to the renaming decision, the BOE asked building administrators to honor the people whose names were in consideration for renaming by using their names in other places in the middle school building, including hallways and public spaces.

Individuals on the short list to be so honored include educator and former enslaved person Betsey Stockton and community historian Shirley Satterfield, as well as Paul Robeson, Michelle Obama, Albert Einstein, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

 A petition to change the name from Witherspoon, a slave owner and anti-abolitionist, was presented to the BOE last August, and Princeton Unified Middle School was selected as a temporary name at that time.