Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17: Name Downtown Miami High School For Janet Reno

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The Miami-Dade School Board can reverse the blunder they made today in a school naming.

The blunder was because it looked like a school near Florida International University's North Miami campus was going to be named for former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, but a committee had a change of heart and recommended naming the school for former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning and his wife, Tracey. The school board went along.

Not that the Mournings don't deserve a school named after them for all they do in this community. They do.

It's the reason for the switch that rankles: The committee feared controversy because of the anger still carried over Reno's decision, as attorney general, to return Elian Gonzalez, then 5 years old, to his father in Cuba.

Reno's contributions to this community are beyond question. She is a lifelong South Floridian, the daughter of two journalists who covered the area for many years. She was the first female state attorney for Dade County, then the first female U.S. attorney general.

More than that, she has faced adversaries in everything from the aftermath of the McDuffie verdict to the Waco raid and the Elian Gonzalez custody battle with guts and an honesty lacking in many public officials. She has waged her battle with Parkinson's Disease with grace.

In a letter to the school board, the Mournings recommended that the North Miami school be named for Reno. They can't be completely thrilled with the way this decision was carried out.

The school board can easily correct that.

The Miami-Dade High School of Law Studies, Homeland Security and Forensic Sciences is being built in Downtown Miami, right next to the Miami Police Department. There would be no better tribute to Janet Reno than to name that school for her.

She's earned it.

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