A new name for Badger Road School: Elementary school’s community will have big say about new moniker
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial:
The wheels are turning on the renaming of Badger Road Elementary School. Last week, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District solicited volunteers for the committee that will make recommendations for a new name, and the committee’s organization is a hopeful sign that the new name will reflect the sentiments of the people the school serves. It’s also time for community members and interested parties to brainstorm for a suitable candidate for the school’s namesake.
Badger Road Elementary School held its present name for 35 years, but the school board opted to get rid of that name last year after school board member Michael O’Brien raised the issue that it had been indirectly named after a convicted child rapist. Harry Badger, a prominent businessman and strawberry farmer in the early decades of Fairbanks’ history, pleaded guilty in 1916 to raping a 10-year-old girl. Over time, his crime was forgotten by many in the area, and the road in the area of his homestead bore his name. Later, when the elementary school was undergoing its initial naming process, Badger’s crime came to light, and the committee opted to add a degree of separation between the man and the school by naming it after the road instead. Still, because the road was named after the man, it was a poor compromise and one the school board was right to rectify by voting to end the use of that name last year.