The Aegis

Harford school board decides on new names for schools named after slave owners

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The Harford County Board of Education voted Monday night on new names for William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School and John Archer School after making the decision in March to remove the existing names, which have ties to slavery.

After a nearly hourlong discussion, William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School will be renamed Old Post Road Elementary School, and John Archer School will become Harford Academy at Campus Hills.


In June 2020, a petition containing 1,500 signatures was forwarded to the board, asking the superintendent to rename William Paca/Old Post Road Elementary School in Abingdon.

Since then, several residents have asked at board meetings that Paca’s name be removed from the school. After hearing a student speak on the issue, Vicki Jones, president of the Harford County branch of the NAACP, met with the student and together they requested last summer that William Paca Elementary School be renamed.


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Paca was born in Abingdon in 1740. A signer of the Declaration of Independence, he was a federal judge, served in the Maryland legislature and became governor of the state. Paca also owned more than 100 slaves.

William Paca Elementary School was built in 1964 as a second building on the Philadelphia Road campus of Old Post Elementary School, which was built in 1956.

John Archer was a Harford County physician born near Churchville in 1741. He served in the Revolutionary War, held various government positions and served in Congress. He, too, was a slave owner.

The John Archer School serves special needs students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Its Bel Air campus was built in 1971.