Updated 10:14 a.m.
An online survey launched by the Alvarado Middle School School Site Council on Monday to get the community’s thoughts on the controversial name change has been taken down.
According to Lance Nishihira, a member of the School Site Council who helped create the survey, the survey was removed after the school's principal sent an automated voice message to residents Tuesday afternoon asking them to disregard the survey.
"In the spirit of the administration's robocall requesting to disregard the survey, we, The SSC, have shutdown the survey and will just work with the data we have collected in this shortened fielding time," Nishihira commented on Patch.
The original story about the survey is below.
The Alvarado Middle School School Site Council launched an online survey Monday to get the community’s thoughts on the controversial name change.
The survey, titled “Understanding the AMS Name Change,” can be accessed at http://bit.ly/amsname.
It asks community members to rate how strongly they feel about the name change, which name they prefer — Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School, Alvarado Middle School or some other name — and their connection to the school.
The survey will close April 12.
The goal of the survey is to gain understanding, said Lance Nishihira, a member of the school site council and AMS parent. Though Nishihira has been vocal about his opposition to the name change in the past, he said the survey is designed to be objective.
All community members are encouraged to weigh in, he said.
“We want to demonstrate to the decision makers what the true sentiments of the AMS school community really is,” Nishihira told Patch.
Though an automated voice message was sent out by the middle school to residents Monday afternoon, officials said Tuesday that the survey was not endorsed by the school or the New Haven Unified School District. Another automated message was sent Tuesday afternoon by AMS principal Jesus Varela asking residents to disregard the previous announcement, according to multiple Patch readers.
Nishihira said he doesn’t want the data to be ignored. He said the School Site Council plans to present the data to the school board members before their next scheduled meeting on April 16. The board is expected to make vote on the name change during the meeting.
“I didn’t want to have to do the survey. I really wanted the district to do the survey,” Nishihira said.
According to Nishihira, he was told by district officials that no school resources could be used on a survey unless approved by the school board at a public meeting, which would be too late.
Though the topic became highly publicized in March, the school board voted to change the name of the middle school during their Jan. 15 meeting.
Nishihira said the School Site Council was unaware of the proposal in January and was disappointed in the lack of public discourse prior to that vote.
“This (survey) is something any committee that has a true intent to understand the feeling of the district could have done back in December,” Nishihira said.
Meanwhile, the issue has divided the community.
Those supporting the name change say it will represent Union City’s diversity and serve as a significant milestone in American history as it would be the first school named after Filipino Americans.
Kaisahan, a local social justice advocacy group, is among several community organizations advocating for the renaming of Alvarado Middle School. The group outlines their reasons for pushing for the name change in a post on their Facebook page.
Those against the name change have also held similar protests in recent weeks.
The school’s fate may be sealed at the April 16 school board meeting.
According to board members, a naming committee will provide up to three names for consideration during the meeting. However, the board can change their previous decision or delay the action if three or more members agree to do so.