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Despite child molestation accusations, L.A. Unified restores school auditorium sign in honor of Michael Jackson. A good idea?

October 16, 2010 |  9:45 am


Michael Jackson was a musical icon. He also was a man dogged by accusations of inappropriate relationships with children.

6a00d8341c630a53ef013488024286970c-320wiIn 2003, after Jackson's arrest on suspicion of child molestation, L.A. school officials covered over a sign with his name on it at the Michael Jackson Auditorium at Gardner Street School in Hollywood. Jackson was ultimately acquitted, and after his death last year, fans urged the L.A. school system to uncover the sign.

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines ordered the boards stripped away Friday "in recognition of Michael Jackson's musical legacy and contribution to modern culture."

A school district spokesman told The Times' Kate Linthicum the decision was made in large part because Jackson had been acquitted of criminal charges in the molestation case. (In 1993, a 13-year-old boy filed a civil suit accusing Jackson of sexual molestation. The pop singer, while declaring his innocence, eventually settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum that sources say was at least $15 million.)

On Friday night, a Facebook page calling for the restoration of the sign was overflowing with joyous comments.

"I could cry!!" one person wrote. "I wish he were here to see this!!"

Jackson was briefly enrolled at Gardner Street Elementary. In 1969, he and his family moved to Los Angeles from Gary, Ind., so that Jackson and his brothers could make a record with Motown.

What do you think about L.A. Unified's decision to restore the sign? Share your thoughts below.

Photo: Michael Jackson. Credit: Los Angeles Times