Parents pledge to continue battle to change high school name in Grand Terrace
Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
GRAND TERRACE - Supporters of renaming the new high school vowed Friday to continue their fight. The Colton Joint Unified school board failed to take action Thursday night to start the process to change the name from Ray Abril High School to Grand Terrace High School.
The $82 million campus at the corner of Taylor and Main streets is expected to open in fall 2011. The board deadlocked 3-3 on a motion to place the matter on the agenda for a vote at the next meeting.
Board President Marge Mendoza-Ware and board members Kent Taylor and Patt Haro favored putting the name change on the May 14 agenda. Board members Mel Albiso, Robert Armenta Jr. and Frank Ibarra opposed the idea. Board member David Zamora was absent.
The board voted 6-1 in March to name the school after former trustee Ray Abril Jr., upsetting many Grand Terrace residents.
More than 300 people, many wearing t-shirts and carrying signs in favor of Grand Terrace High School, attended Thursday's meeting to urge the name change.
Taylor said he decided to support renaming the school, "Grand Terrace High School honoring Ray Abril," after hearing the outcry from the community.
"I thought it would be a great compromise to heal our community," Taylor said.
Armenta said that he would not compromise his "values and vision" by supporting a name change.
"I do have a message for individuals who have been sending the board irrational,
threatening and hateful e-mails as well as encouraging students not to participate in the classroom. I will not be bullied or intimidated," Armenta said.
Supporters of the name change said they will continue asking parents to boycott a state-mandated achievement test that starts at district high schools next week.
"We're going to redouble our efforts to opt the kids out and send a message to the school board," said former trustee Tobin Brinker, a San Bernardino councilman who has two children attending Colton district schools.
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