What's in a name? If it's General Vang Pao Elementary, plenty. There was standing room only at the Madison School Board for a debate over the naming of the new school.
The board wanted to honor a hero of the Hmong community by naming a school after General Vang Pao. A man whose troops fought alongside US troops during the Vietnam War.
Some thought the board did the right thing. Others suggested someone else from the Hmong community be chosen. That's because some historians say General Pao also committed atrocities during that war and was a drug trafficker.
Others became emotional in their opposition to naming a school after someone with that background although many in the Hmong community say the reason they are in this country because of Vang Pao. Former Madison school board member Shwaw Vang is one person who feels that way.
Besides a petition of five hundred parents, the Madison teachers Union is also on record opposing the name but the school board stood firm. The new school will be Vang Pao Elementary.