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September 13, 2013

Editorial: New Fuller 'name' can't hide shame

What’s in a name?

Apparently, some Gloucester city councilors and perhaps school officials alike think a name means quite a bit. In fact, during an embarrassing debate over whether to include a school use as a choice for voters on November’s Fuller School nonbinding referendum question, they actually agreed to start calling the longtime school facility the “Fuller Building Site” — obviously hoping that we will all follow those semantics as well.

Baloney. And to make matters worse, Councilor Joe Ciolino had the audacity to suggest that, with the building itself, and whatever future form it may take, “we’re honoring the man, Milton L. Fuller, and it serves no purpose to put the word ‘school’ to it.”

Really? We suspect Mr. Fuller is rolling over in his grave at the way school and city officials have — through not-so-benign neglect — let this school building rot in their push to build a new West Parish school and avoid using “the Fuller site” as the consolidated school it could still be.

Ciolino and other officials seem to think that dropping the term “Fuller School” will somehow make voters forget that their councilors and school officials are so fearful of hearing the public’s input, even on a non-binding referendum, that they refuse to even give voters the school option as a choice.

In fact, Ciolino suggested that everyone who counts agrees that Fuller can no longer be a school — “the experts have said no, the parents have said no, and the School Committee has said no,” he said.

But we will not forget that no one has even asked a cross-section of the city taxpayers who have to pay the bills. And thanks to this gutless decision — opposed only by Bruce Tobey, Jackie Hardy and, to an extent Greg Verga — no one ever will.

That’s a shame — by any name.

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