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Students at Hood Middle School in Dallas Vote To Change Its Name

Alexandru Nika
The majority of students at Hood Middle School in Dallas voted in favor of changing the school's name.

Students at Hood Middle School in Dallas took part in a historic election Friday. During lunch, they voted to change the name of their school. Some say the mostly minority school shouldn’t be named after a Confederate general.

Students at Hood Middle School say they often have to put up with name calling. Like at basketball games, when kids from other schools see hood on their jerseys.

“Oh, they’re from the hood. They’re ghetto, ratchet. They act like that,” said seventh grader Mariyana Hill who’s 12. “They don’t do nothing. They don’t have no education or nothing.”

Hill voted to keep the school name because, she said, students can show other kids they’re not like that when they beat them in a sport or do well in school.

Two-thirds of kids in the sixth and seventh grades, however did vote in favor of the name change, while 51 percent of eighth graders voted against the proposal.

Principal LaTonya Lockhart said a math teacher in the school wanted to change the school moniker because John B. Hood was a Confederate general who supported slavery.

“So then I told her that we needed to get the students involved in whatever it is we do because that’s one of the things we’re teaching with regard to character and things like that,” Lockhart said.

Ultimately, the kids won’t make the final decision – that’s up to the school board. But Hood is planning a contest for the students to come up with an alternative name.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.