Bernie Glaser, janitor for Jefferson Elementary School, expressed concern after a new policy forced him to change his nametag and his actual name to Bern. This policy, passed unanimously by Kokomo, Indiana's school board has forced all members of the Kokomo public school system's janitorial staff to shave their names down to one syllable with a maximum of four letters. Most of the staff already will have no problem, but there are a few like Glaser who feel the reasons for the implementation for the policy are somewhat unconvincing. Members who will not be affected include Syd, Vern, Dave, Dan, Bob, Karl, and another Syd.
The reason for the change came at urging from the community who feel that janitors, when needed, shouldn't trouble people by having long names. Fayme Hudson, mother of two daughters in the system and head of the PTA was the force behind the push to adopt what has come to be known as the infamous proposition 55. Hudson decided this was needed after an incident involving her daughter, 2 boys, and janitor Fernando Juanito Gonzalez who insisted on being called by his first two names. Since the passing of the policy, Gonzalez decided to leave the district after 20 years.
Bern Glaser says that he will fight this all the way through so that he can keep his name and job. "The reasons they gave and claim as valid are completely ridiculous, they said things like, janitors need easy to pronounce names for kids, need to be kept at an inferior status to other faculty, and that they shouldn't be getting any ideas, come on, what does that last one even mean." For now, the school board will keep its decision and doesn't show any signs of budging. As for the rest of the country, no district has felt the need to copycat Kokomo and many claim there is no need since a recent poll showed that 98% of school janitorial staff already had one-syllable names and 85% of those were four letters or under.