(Hollywood, CA) — Those living and working near an elementary school in Hollywood are raising questions over the use of Michael Jackson’s name.
The Michael Jackson Auditorium at Gardner Street Elementary was dedicated to the King of Pop in 1989, who attended the school during sixth grade. It was covered with plywood in 2003 following the singer’s arrest for alleged child molestation but then later uncovered in 2010 after Jackson’s death.
Christi Olsen lives across the street from the elementary school and watched the “Leaving Neverland” documentary on HBO. “I was expecting to come around the corner the next day and see that the Michael Jackson Auditorium name was taken down. It’s not been taken down yet. I’m surprised,” said Olsen.
“I think the most disturbing aspect of this still being called the Michael Jackson Auditorium is the fact that this is a school and there are children here,” Olsen added. “If the allegations didn’t involve children, maybe it would be a different situation.”
Erin Levee said the documentary spurred a conversation about the facility’s name with family and that they have mixed feelings. “It should be up to the school to decide because it represents them. So, I think if the parents feel uncomfortable about it then they should voice their opinions.”
One man named Mickey works in the area and said it’s hard to say what to do. “He did a lot of good things, along with probably a lot of bad things. Being a school, probably not the best thing to have his name up there,” he said.
Susan lives around the corner from Gardner Street Elementary and believes parents should have a say. “They’re all going to have to talk to their kids about it. They probably already have since it’s been in the news all this week and they’re obviously familiar with the name. Even if they’re still young, they’re not familiar with who he is or his story.”
LAUSD Spokesman Samuel Gilstrap released a statement stating that they are not aware of any proposals to rename the school facility that currently bears the name of the late pop artist. “Any such actions would require approval by the Board of Education.”
– James Rojas, 790 KABC