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Fans want Jackson's name back on L.A. school

April 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
L.A. school officials told Michael Jackson to beat it seven years ago. Now, fans of the late pop star want him back.Gardner Street Elementary School maybe closed for spring break, but class is in session when it comes to the school's most famous alumni. Michael Jackson was an 11-year-old student at the school in 1970.

The King of Pop over the years donated money to the school. In 1989 the school administrators honored the pop star by naming their auditorium after him.

"I am deeply touched an honored that the PTA, principal, faculty members and students have been so kind to dedicate the auditorium," said Jackson in a 1989 press conference.

Then came the Jackson scandal, he was accused of child molestation. With the high-profile trial and Jackson's name in headlines all around the world, the school removed his name from the auditorium. It has stayed that way ever since.

"After his passing it is just very disrespectful and a disgrace," said Jennifer Marino, a Jackson fan.

If Marino has her way, the plywood covers over Jackson's name will be removed. Marino is part of an online movement, using sites like Facebook and homemade Web pages, to persuade the Los Angeles Unified School District to restore Jackson's name to the auditorium.

"They covered it because of Michael Jackson's trial," said Marino. "He was proven innocent. As a mother I don't feel as if it is a good example if you are proven innocent you are punished."

Marino isn't alone. The vast majority we spoke to like the idea of restoring Jackson's name to the school auditorium, despite his controversial past.

"He's weird and crazy. He was black and then white," said Christopher Amitrano, Hollywood resident. "And there was all of this other crazy stuff about him, but the truth is there was never anything proven. He never went to jail."

The fate of auditorium though rests with the school district. Officials did not return calls to Eyewitness News on Thursday, but the district has reportedly said that there are no plans to uncover the sign.

For now the beige plywood will stay up and Jackson's name will remain "Off The Wall."