OUR VIEW: Best of both worlds: TCSS can honor Brock, keep West Point Elementary name

Published 9:30 am Friday, October 14, 2022

The Troup County School Board decided at its Monday night work session that it will not rename West Point Elementary School after longtime educator Zelma Brock.

Instead, the school system will find another way to honor Brock.

We realize there are a lot of opinions about what the school system should do, especially given how much Mrs. Brock was beloved in the West Point community, but we do feel like this is the right decision.

There is no doubt at all the legacy that Brock left behind, and that legacy shines through when you hear people discuss the impact she had on children and fellow educators at West Point Elementary School. We haven’t heard anyone say anything negative about her, and we don’t think you could find anyone who would. She was beloved. 

TCSS rightfully held a listening session that allowed anyone who wanted to speak to give their opinion on the renaming. Then, it created an online survey, allowing people another avenue to speak up. And through that survey, it was clear that everyone loved Zelma Brock and wants to honor her, but most also want to keep the school’s name as West Point Elementary.

The school is a longtime link to the city of West Point, and many feel like it plays a role in keeping the city itself on the map.

And although we like to make everything in life so polarizing, we think the clear answer is to honor both of the community’s requests. Yes, let’s make sure we honor Brock in a way that will immortalize her impact for generations to come. She deserves it, and it needs to be done.

But let’s also keep West Point Elementary with the same name. 

Not renaming the school also prevents TCSS from preventing a precedent. There are so many educators in our community, and a select few stay in place for years, if not decades, and have an incredible impact on that school and its students. But there are only 21 schools in the Troup County School System. It would be impossible to rename a school after everyone who has ever had a profound impact on students in a school.

If anyone deserves it, it’s Brock, but we think it’s important that TCSS continues its trend of moving away from naming buildings after people. That’s been the board’s policy for the last handful of years, including when naming Clearview Elementary School, and we believe they should continue down that path. The last thing anyone wants is to be debating the legacy of educators some day down the road because we ran out of schools to name people after.

There’s a way to honor Brock on the West Point Elementary School campus and do it correctly, and we have all the confidence in the world that TCSS will get it right. The board made it clear that it’s important to do so, and we believe they will.

And when that day comes, this community will have another reason to celebrate Brock and to remember her for years and years to come.