Harford County Schools Embrace Change: Renaming Unveiled For William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary And John Archer School
HARFORD COUNTY - Two Harford County schools officially have new names. After almost an hour of debate, the Harford County Board of Education voted on Monday night to rename William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School and John Archer School.
William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School will be renamed Old Post Road Elementary School, and John Archer School will become Harford Academy at Campus Hills.
In June 2020, a petition garnered 1,500 signatures, asking the superintendent to change the school’s names due to their ties to slavery. Since then, residents have routinely asked at board meetings that Paca’s name be removed from the school.
Recently elected Havre de Grace city council member, and president of the Harford County branch of the NAACP, Vicki Jones, met with a student and formally requested that the name be changed last summer. In March 2023, the school board voted to remove the existing names.
William Paca was an Abingdon native born in 1740. He is known for signing the Declaration of Independence and for his work in the Maryland legislature and as governor.
He also owned more than 100 slaves on one of Maryland’s largest plantations.
Towson University also recently renamed its “Paca House” after similar criticism was levied on the forgotten founding father.
John Archer was also a Harford County native born in 1741. He fought in the revolutionary war and later served in the United States Congress.
According to Maryland archives, Archer owned at least eight slaves during his lifetime.
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