With all due respect to the great William Shakespeare, sometimes the answer to his rhetorical question “What’s in a name” is “quite a bit, really.”
Which is why the Fort Mill School District deserves much credit for its recent decision to change of the name of a planned new school off Doby’s Bridge Road, itself named for one of the town’s founding families, from “Dobys Bridge Elementary” to Doby’s Bridge Elementary.” Some readers might have to re-read the previous sentence to see the difference – which isn’t as subtle as it may seem.
The apostrophe has come under attack in recent years (see the May 16 Wall Street Journal story, “Theres a Question Mark Hanging Over the Apostrophes Future” [sic]) and some members of the textinati (perhaps texterati, or even textocracy, is more accurate?) have the ways and means of doing harm to this humble, but important, punctuation mark. Standing guard like a hardy colon armed with an exclamation point cocked and ready to fire like a spear, we are quick defenders of the besieged apostrophe.
Apparently we’re not alone.
Many readers expressed support for our July 3 editorial asking the school board to reconsider its choice, and in less than 24 hours we were told that district officials will name the new school Doby’s Bridge Elementary. Supt. Chuck Epps says his recommendation for the name sans apostrophe was erring on the side of safety, that he was worried first responders and visitors looking for “Doby’s” with a GPS would not easily find the school. After getting reassurance from York County’s chief of safety that using the proper name would not impede police and firefighters from finding the school in an emergency, he passed on a new recommendation to the school board and members agreed.
Epps and School Board Chairman Patrick White maintain that they don’t agree with some of the arguments we made in our July 3 editorial and that is their right. What’s important is that we did our job by focusing attention on an issue we feel is important and they did their job by listening – and ultimately making the correct choice.