Local teen argues famed prime minister doesn’t deserve hero’s treatment

A local teenager is petitioning to rename Winston Churchill High School because of bigoted statements attributed to the famed British prime minister.

Hari Iyer wrote in an email to Bethesda Magazine that he’s trying to rename the Potomac school in honor of African-American leader Malcolm X. Iyer, a freshman at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, pointed out that Churchill once called Indians “a beastly people with a beastly religion.” Another time, Churchill suggested using the campaign slogan, “Keep England white,” Iyer noted.

On the other hand, Malcolm X does not get the recognition he deserves and was a fearless and staunch advocate for education, Iyer argued.

Recent hate incidents in Montgomery County and across the nation have brought racial divides into the spotlight in recent months, the teen wrote. At Winston Churchill in December, someone posted a “Whites Only” sign on a restroom door. The school has a student body of more than 2,000, the majority of whom are white, according to data from the 2015-2016 academic year.

Renaming Winston Churchill “would be a big step toward uniting a school that has been shown to have racial conflict, and a small step toward uniting a nation that has been shown to have this and other conflicts,” Iyer wrote. Iyer’s Change.org petition to the Montgomery County Board of Education has garnered 54 supporters in three weeks.


Wootton High posted near-perfect graduation rate in 2016

A state report card showed that Montgomery County’s graduation levels were on the rise last year. The Maryland State Department of Education data also showed that several high schools had rates above 95 percent but did not give more exact figures for these top-performing schools. On the other hand, the Montgomery County Public Schools press release, which came out after the state data was released, did. And, according to MCPS, the highest-performing school was Thomas S. Wootton in Rockville, with a 98.1 percent graduation rate. Next came Poolesville at 97.4 percent, Winston Churchill at 96.5 percent and Walt Whitman at 96.1 percent.

MCPS Schools declare open season for transfer requests


Parents who want school transfers for their children can begin submitting requests starting Feb. 1. The deadline for Change of School Assignment applications is April 3, according to a Montgomery County Public Schools press release. For the most part, students are assigned to schools based on their home addresses, but parents can request a transfer for several reasons:

  • To attend school with an older sibling;

  • Because of a unique hardship;

  • To continue in a feeder pattern from middle to high school; and

  • To avoid a mid-year school switch when a family moves to a new home.

A booklet containing the transfer request form is available at schools and online. The process for entering elementary language immersion programs is different, and more information is available at elementary schools and online.