5th grader launches petition to rename middle school after Ruth Bader Ginsburg

·3 min read
Inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legendary career, these fifth graders want to rename a local middle school in her honor (Photo by Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)
Inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's legendary career, these fifth graders want to rename a local middle school in her honor. (Photo: Ron Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)

An Oregon student has started a petition to have a new school renamed in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18 at the age of 87.

On Monday, Ruby, a fifth-grade student at Bridger K-8 in Portland, Oreg., started a petition (with the help of her parents) on Change.org calling for Kellogg Middle School, which is currently being rebuilt as part of the 2017 Health, Safety and Modernization Bond, to change its name to honor Ginsburg.

In a letter posted to the Change.org page, Ruby called on district officials to consider the implications of the school’s current name. “Dear Portland Public Schools, I feel strongly that we should change the name of Kellogg Middle School to Ruth Bader Ginsburg Middle School,” she writes. “I feel this way because it is a new school so it should have a new name. We have a lot of schools (far too many, in my opinion) named after white businessmen. Lastly, if kids go to schools centered only on white males then kids who are not those two things may feel unimportant, or worthless even. I trust that you do not want kids to feel this way, so I hope you will take my ideas into consideration.”

As of Friday, the petition had raked in over 1,000 signatures. The school, located in the Southeast region of Portland, is named after Joseph Kellogg, a famous steamboat captain and businessman who lived in the city during the mid 1800s.

Portland Public Schools did not respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment and told Portland’s KATU that it had not heard of the petition, but added: “PPS is very committed to student voice and the renaming process. This summer we proposed a new process that aligns with our PPS Vision, our values, commitment to Racial Equity and Social Justice, and is culturally responsive.”

According to a Facebook post made by Ruby’s mother, Rachael Waas Shull, it’s not the fifth-grader’s first time asking for the change. Last year, Ruby sent a handwritten letter to Portland Public Schools urging officials to rename the school after Ginsburg, but Portland Public School naming policy requires the namesake to be deceased at least three years, and Ginsburg was alive at the time. Following the legend’s death, Ruby renewed her fight.

In an interview with Fox12, Ruby said that she has been inspired to keep up her fight by Ginsburg’s own tenacity. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg's been my hero and idol. So it was really important to me to represent her. Also I knew Kellogg had, his name's Joseph Kellogg I believe, he hadn't really done anything important for the community and Ruth Bader Ginsburg has fought for equal rights for many people."

Yahoo Life reached out to Ruby’s parents and will update the article once we hear back.

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