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Crossing the Red Cross

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Barren County, Ky.'s Red Cross School, named for the century-old community it serves, has been receiving a lot of attention lately from the American National Red Cross, and not because of blood drives.

Recently, the county school board received a letter from the charitable organization informing it that its use of the name "Red Cross,'' a registered trademark, was considered unauthorized.

The letter stunned administrators of the 80-year-old school.

"We're not trying to take advantage of the Red Cross name,'' said Roy Withrow, the superintendent of the Barren County schools.

According to Mr. Withrow, the U.S. branch of the international organization had not realized that the 210-student elementary school was a public school. After he explained the situation, the American Red Cross decided not to take further action, Mr. Withrow said.

"They should have checked their facts before proceeding,'' the superintendent said. "It would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.''

The Red Cross had learned of the school's existence during a routine Dun & Bradstreet trademark search. The school's name may have appeared on the list because of bonds it had issued, said Margaret McCarthy, a spokesman for the organization.

The Red Cross has apologized in writing and, in future, Ms. McCarthy added, "each situation will be taken on its own merits.''--L.D.

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