School board delays vote on middle school street name

The agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Pulaski County School Board originally included an action item concerning naming the roadway leading into the new middle school.

It was expected the board would act on a proposal made at an earlier meeting that the roadway be named after Corp. Lewis Bausell – the county’s only Medal of Honor winner.

That plan, however, got derailed when representatives of the Pulaski County Citizens for Education group presented a proposal that the roadway be named “Citizens Way,” in recognition of the citizen-led effort to build the new middle school.

Jean Cox, a member of the citizens group, made the presentation to the school board.

“We would like to propose that the roadway to the middle school be named ‘Citizens Way.’ This proposal is to honor the incredible advocacy and work the citizens of Pulaski put in to securing this school for our children,” Cox said.

“Literally, the way to this new school is paved with the momentum and determination of a large collective of volunteers who spoke at governmental meetings, organized and conducted town hall meetings, formed a referendum committee, advertised in print media and with signage, distributed t-shirts and bumper stickers, marched in parades, set up booths at community events, canvassed neighborhoods, wrote editorials and letters, established websites with information and videos, and set up information stations at polling places on election day,” Cox continued.

She added the “way” to the new school was made possible by the efforts of these “children, young/old, red/blue, with and without children, all unified by the passion to enable our children to pursue their dreams in a modern, appropriate facility.”

“This whole process has been and continues to be a lesson in democracy and grassroots organizing, something we want our students to remember and be empowered by every day,” Cox read from a statement.

Moments later, when it came time for the board to formally adopt its agenda, Vice Chairman Mike Barbour offered a motion to delete the action item concerning the street naming.

“I think there are a number of ideas regarding naming of that road,” Barbour stated. “I think that whatever name that road ultimately bears should be a product of unanimity within the board and hopefully also within the community. It seems to me the process by which that road is named needs to continue forward at least for some additional period of time.”

Barbour’s motion was approved on a unanimous 5-0 vote of the board.

There has been discussion in the community this week of at least one other suggestion for the name of the street. Questions have also arisen as to who actually has authority to name the street.

Corp. Bausell was just recently honored by a resolution passed by the Board of Supervisors in recognition of his bravery and ultimate sacrifice during World War II. He was also the focus of the county’s Veterans Remembrance Ceremony on July 4th at the Pulaski Theatre.

On Sept. 15, 1944 during the battle for Peleliu in the Pacific, Bausell – to protect and save his fellow Marines – valiantly threw himself on top of a Japanese grenade and took the full blast of the explosion. He died three days later.

He was later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. A Navy destroyer, the USS Bausell, was also named in his honor.