As a former resident of Waterbury, I read the article in the Feb. 17 Times Argus about the name change to Thatcher Brook Primary School, with great interest. I came away with two observations.

The Harwood Unified Union School District Board voted to change the name of the school because it is named after a brook which is named after Partridge Thatcher, a founder of Waterbury. The reason for the name change given was recent research found Thatcher owned at least two slaves over 250 years ago when slavery was not prohibited and was commonly practiced.

Later in the article, a 2019 school climate survey was mentioned. The survey found about 25% of students “felt socially and emotional unsafe” at the school. Again, according to the article, two years after the survey there is a need to dig deeper into student safety.

Way to go, school board. Put the name of the school ahead of student safety.

In no way do I condone slavery, but slavery was a worldwide practice in all of recorded history. Two hundred fifty years ago was the beginning of the abolitionist movement. We do not know if Thatcher, like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and many others, changed his ways and beliefs about slavery, and therefore, was wronged the Feb. 10 meeting. We do know the school has known about student safety for two years and done apparently nothing.

Robert Youngberg


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