In light of the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this past summer, the Dallas school board voted to change the names of four elementary schools named for Confederate generals: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, William Cabell and Albert Sidney Johnston.
The board insisted on completely new and different names, eliminating the possibility of, for example, turning Robert E. Lee into just Lee Elementary, which another Texas school district has done.
Here's where each school stands in the process:
Robert E. Lee
A parent-school committee began considering new names before the board ever forced its hand — and even before the violence in Charlottesville. With assistance from its trustee Dustin Marshall, it came up with the name, Geneva Heights Elementary. It's the original name of the land where the school sits in the Lower Greenville area.
William Cabell in North Dallas will become Chapel Hill Preparatory.
Albert Sidney Johnston
Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary in South Dallas has not decided a name. Officials there say they need more time, but they're on track to meet the February deadline.
Stonewall Jackson will become Mockingbird Elementary, named for the street in front of it: Mockingbird Lane.
Principal Melanie Mans said there were over 50 names submitted in the process.
"I’ll say the renaming committee did a great job. When it came down to three names, I liked all of them.”
One option considered for Stonewall Jackson’s new name was Olivia Henderson Elementary, in honor of the school’s longtime principal, who retired in 2013. It also considered East Dallas Elementary.
Mans says students who do well will still be Stars, just not Stonewall Stars. Parents were heavily involved in considering a new name for the Blue Ribbon campus.
“We did have a larger committee than most schools for this purpose,” Mans said. “But our school has very, very involved parents. And with such a big change and the reputation this school has acquired over the years, we really wanted to be very inclusive. We didn’t want anyone to feel left out because this was a huge change for them, and we wanted them to feel like they were a part of it.”
Trustees, including Miguel Solis, spoke at the last school board meeting offering good words about the process schools and citizens used to come up with new campus identities.
“This is bold leadership by this board,” Solis said. “And it’s going to lay the path for, I think, not just acknowledgement of the history and the need to change the history ... but also a path for remediation and for real conversations about equity, equality and how to move our city forward.”