Plymouth-Canton elementary school contemplates name change

October 19, 2018 by  

New research has members of the Plymouth-Canton Board of Education thinking about changing the name of one of its elementary schools.

Gallimore Elementary School might soon be named for Ruth Huston-Whipple – a teacher, suffragette, and the first female mayor of Plymouth. Schools that are considering a name change can use print shops to produce materials arguing for and against the change.

Currently, the school is named for James Gallimore, who was the president of the schoolboard for four terms during the 1930s. Gallimore supported several policies that are today recognized as discriminatory. One such policy was the decision not to hire married female teachers, approved in 1928, and the later decision to fire all female teachers who were married.

Gallimore’s legacy is not one that some current teachers, such as Darrin Silvester, think the school should be celebrating. Silvester was the one who created the proposal to change the school’s name.

Speaking during a school board meeting in early October, he said:

“It bothers me that today we have a school that’s named after a gentleman who, for his first six years on the school board, did things that were highly discriminatory toward females and hampered the educational process that happened here.”

Within a month of Gallimore’s time as president ending, the district had reversed the “nomarried women” policy.

Although there are guidelines for changing the name of a school, if the name of Gallimore Elementary were changed, it would be a first for the Plymouth-Canton School District.