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HISD will begin process of renaming schools with Confederate ties

Good.

Rhonda Skillern-Jones

Rhonda Skillern-Jones

[HISD] trustees plan to start the process with a vote to revise the district’s policy to state explicitly that names should be non-discriminatory. The revised policy also details how the board can initiate renaming schools.

Board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones said this week that after the policy gains approval, she will propose renaming at least six schools named after Confederate leaders or loyalists.

In June, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, called on the Houston Independent School District to rename six campuses following the shooting deaths of nine black churchgoers by an alleged white supremacist in Charleston, S.C. Ellis mentioned campuses including Davis, Lee and Reagan high schools and Dowling, Jackson and Johnston middle schools.

Alumni have expressed mixed reactions.

Renaming is expected to come with a cost – for new logos, school uniforms, marquees. The estimated price tag was $250,000 in 2013 when HISD changed the Confederate-linked Rebels mascot and three others deemed offensive to Native Americans.

[…]

“I’m pleased to see the HISD board move in this direction,” Ellis said in a statement Wednesday. “As an extremely diverse school district in the most diverse city in the nation, the names of our community schools should not lionize men who dedicated themselves to maintaining the ability of one human to own another.”

See here and here for the background. That story was published Thursday morning, before the board meeting, at which Superintendent Terry Grier announced his imminent departure. I didn’t see any followup story, so I’m presuming this went ahead; if not, I’m sure it will be picked up at the next meeting. I’ve said before that I support this. Having a school named after you is a privilege, not a right. I have no idea why anyone would think it controversial to reserve that privilege for people who didn’t take up arms against the United States, but maybe that’s just the Yankee in me talking. I’ve never known a school named for Benedict Arnold, so I don’t know why there should be a school named for Jefferson Davis. The fact that there is such a school here in Houston, and that the board of trustees is seeking to change it isn’t an insult to anyone. The insult is that it was named for Jefferson Davis in the first place.

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Well, thankfully HISD is awash with cash and the taxpayers aren’t being taxed to death by them, so spending what will surely amount to millions of dollars to sanitize history won’t take away money for books, teachers, or other things secondary to running a school district. Wait. I can’t remember…..have we always been at war with Eurasia?

  2. mollusk says:

    Two birds with one stone: Rename Reagan High, Reagan High (this time after St. Ronnie of Santa Barbara).

    No new band uniforms, etc., so money saved there. Besides, I’m willing to bet that most people already think that it’s named after the Gipper. Finally, it’s a fun way to troll the only people who are likely to oppose the concept.