The Dallas Independent School District board of trustees voted unanimously Thursday night on replacement names for three of the four elementary schools that currently have Confederate army generals as their namesakes.
Trustees unveiled and approved the neutral new names submitted by campus committees. These nomenclatures reportedly reflect the neighborhoods in which the schools reside. Stonewall Jackson will become Mockingbird Elementary, named for its street address. William L. Cabell will transform into Chapel Hill Preparatory. Previously, Robert E. Lee Elementary chose to become Geneva Heights Elementary. Only Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary remains undecided on a new name, which must be determined by February.
Breitbart Texas reported that in September, Dallas ISD trustees voted 9-0 to axe the names of the four elementary schools named for Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, William L. Cabell, and Albert Sidney Johnston. The board also voted to waive existing school renaming policies to fast-track the process, enabling schools to submit new names in December. However, a heated discussion ended with trustees allowing the schools to have until February 1 to turn in proposed new names. All approved namesakes go into effect on July 1, 2018.
In September, Dallas ISD officials estimated $150,000 as the total cost to re-brand the four elementary school campuses. That included marquees, dedication plaques, sculptures, and artwork. District staffers said much of these expenses could be absorbed with school bond money since school interiors and exteriors were due for updating.
On Thursday night, trustees reiterated $150,000 as the estimated price tag. Elementary schools cost less to re-brand than high schools because they have few high ticket items. Renaming high schools involve expenditures associated with team athletic gear, football stadium signage, booster clubs, spirit wear, band, cheerleader, and mascot uniforms.
At the meeting, trustee Miguel Solis said it was important for the district to go down a path of acknowledging history but it was also “a path for remediation and for real conversation about equity and equality and how to move our city forward.”
Breitbart Texas reported this re-branding campaign began in August amid the violent Charlottesville clash between white nationalists and Antifa counter-protesters. Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis then tweeted: “It’s past time to change the name of all confederate schools in Dallas. Looking for leaders to join me in making the change.”
Not everyone in the community shared Solis’ sentiments Thursday night. Stonewall Jackson Elementary School parent Scott Tinsley told NBCDFW the name changes seemed “pointless” and a “waste of taxpayer money.”
Robert E. Lee Elementary School grandparent Manuel Rodriguez told WFAA: “I’ve been here so many years, my (grandkids) are coming here. I think it should stay like that.” He said the Confederate General’s name did not “bother” him.
Parent Mayra Nagera said: “Well, don’t like it because it’s a history name for the school.” She voiced dismay over the “need to change” Lee Elementary’s name. “I can do nothing about it.”
Last year, Breitbart Texas reported that Dallas ISD students attending John B. Hood Middle School renamed their campus Piedmont Global Academy after the Piedmont Grove section of southeast Dallas which houses the school. This name change followed the nationwide call to dump symbols reminiscent of the Old South and the Confederacy following the 2015 fatal shootings of nine black parishioners in South Carolina.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.
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