New School Name Causes Uproar

By KBJR News 1

March 29, 2011 Updated Mar 29, 2011 at 6:51 PM CDT

Babbitt, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - A district wide revamp of independent school district 2142 has called for a name change of the Babbitt–Embarrass school, but some people feel it's a double standard.

District officials says it's a way to make new students feel welcome in a new school.

"The school district is looking to build a more unified school district and so they are looking at changing the names of the new schools," said ISD 2142 Superintendent Dr. Charles Rick.

New names have been decided on for the north and south site schools.

Cherry will remain the Tigers, which has residents in Babbitt scratching their heads.

"Cherry is going to get some kids from Cotton, we are going to get students from Tower–Soudan; so why should Cherry stay just Cherry and Babbitt is forced to make a new name change," asks Acting Babbitt Mayor Jim Lassi.

Babbitt–Embarrass Knights look to become the Northeast Range School Nighthawks.

Lassi says the city council passed a resolution asking the district for a one year moratorium on the school name change.

That failed at a recent board meeting with a 4 to 3 vote, with what some people call a surprising lack of support by one board member.

"Our board representative voted against us. He voted against the city of Babbitt and he voted against the city council, which further threw gasoline on the fire," said Lassi.

Gary Rantala represents the Babbitt–Embarrass area of the district.
He could not be reach for comment on Tuesday.

As for members of the community, feelings of the name change are split.

"They have done a wonderful job coordinating with the sports because we don't have enough children...I would think they could just work off of that," said Janet Kivisto of Babbitt.

"No body, and I mean nobody, knows where Northeast Range High school is going to be and Babbitt will lose identity," said Dale Kasten of Babbitt.

"I think we need to start changing things, because things are changing. We're got all these small schools...we need to consolidate somehow," said Vicki Eggebraaten of Babbitt.

The Tower–Soudan school is projected to become a K–6th grade school while Babbitt–Embarrass would have 7th–12th grade students.