Suicide, and self-harm, are huge issues in our county and affects our most vulnerable student populations. As an educator, my goal is to create an environment where all students feel welcome and cared for.
The issue lies with the conflict that will be created by naming the new high school the same name as the new LDS temple opening a half a mile away in the same neighborhood. The two should be opening within months of each other as well.
Before anyone claims that I am anti-LDS, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m pro-student, period. Everyone deserves a school at which they feel represented.
The temple will be a beautiful addition to our neighborhood and the high school is much needed. My only issue is with the choice of the name. We need something more inclusive than Deseret Peak High School.
During the board meeting on March 9, 2021, the school board talked about naming the new junior high in Stansbury the same as the high school, using the same colors, and even a matching mascot.
They read from the survey of stakeholders, “Same as HS-promote unity and identity among students & community.” The topic then turned to the high school located in the “Overlake” subdivision and that feeling of unity and inclusivity flew out the window.
The board then stated that they did not want to name the high school Overlake High School because it would exclude the other communities in the area. This point was also brought up in the survey comments.
Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High was discussed, but it is just one of a handful of schools named after people, so they couldn’t see how to carry the name/color/mascot over like they did for the Stansbury school.
The board then spoke of naming it after a landmark, ending on the name Deseret Peak. Deseret Peak is the highest peak in the Stansbury Mountains, 20 plus miles west of the new high school. Just a few miles east are the Oquirrh Mountains.
The temple, which had been previously named the Tooele Valley Temple, had just moved to the neighborhood and had been renamed Deseret Peak Temple on January 21, 2021. The community and the board were well aware of this change when they decided on the name of the new high school. In fact, the survey that was used to justify the unity of the junior high in Stansbury to the high school, had a comment stating, “Deseret Peak is nice, but with the LDS temple having the same name, it will like the school with the temple.”
Some people claim that there are several places in Tooele County that are named Deseret Peak and I can agree to that point, but none of those places are a school being built to educate children of all faiths and backgrounds.
By naming the school after the temple (even unintentionally) we will be alienating several populations of students and we must avoid that at any cost.
I respectfully request that the Tooele County School Board to change the name of the new high school to something more inclusive such as North Tooele High School, Oquirrh Mountain High School, or any of the other suggestions given by the community during their survey.
Here is a link to the school board meeting agenda as well as their livestream:
Thank you for your time and consideration