Some say school for at-risk kids was named after a terrorist

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Assata High School, a publicly-funded school for at-risk children, is under fire by those who believe the institution was named after terrorist Assata Shakur.

A Milwaukee police officer showed concern over the name, wondering if there was a connection to Shakur, the first woman added to the FBI's terrorist list this past May.

Shakur, a former civil rights activist with the Black Panthers, was convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper during a shootout in 1973. She escaped prison in 1979 and is living in Cuba. Shakur maintains that her conviction was a set up.

The FBI recently doubled the reward for Shakur's capture to $2 million.

The MIlwaukee Police Association is also taking issue with the name of the school.

"There's plenty of good people who have achieved so much in their life," said MPA President Mike Crivello. "Now at this school we're naming the school after a terrorist? After a cop killer?"

A large poster of Assata Shakur is visible through a window in the school.

"We're tying to help these children, put them on the right path, and they're looking on the wall of their school and they're seeing this terrorist, and maybe they're going home and seeing this person is on the FBI's Most Wanted List? There's an issue," said Crivello.

Milwaukee Public Schools tells FOX6:

During the original planning process of starting the school, the founders decided on the name "Assata" because of its strong ancestral origination. Assata is a popular East African Swahili name and founders decided on this name specifically because the school was designated to be an Afro-Centric school.

MPS says Assata High School is independently operated and has had a charter contract with Milwaukee Public Schools since 1992.