The Dallas Independent School District considered renaming schools named after Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, but ultimately decided against the change.
The Dallas Independent School District proposed a renaming plan for several schools in the district that were named after historical figures with ties to the Confederacy. Schools named after William L. Cabell, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Albert Sidney Johnston are being considered for name changes after the community expressed a desire for change.
In addition, several schools named after Founding Fathers were also in consideration for name changes. Included amongst these school are James Madison High School, Benjamin Franklin Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson High School. Although the school district considered name changes for these schools, they ultimately decided against changes for these schools specifically. They decided instead to focus on changes for schools named after historical figures with explicit ties to the Confederacy.
Community members were somewhat split on the name change proposals. “I support a name change for Stonewall Jackson Elementary — not to erase history, but because of the history,” one parent said. “A public school should have never been named for a Confederate general, and I believe it’s past time to right that wrong.”
“I will not support a name change for Franklin since Benjamin Franklin clearly had many accomplishments that form the basis for why the school was named after him,” another parent argued. “I don’t believe this school was named after Franklin to send a signal of oppression and control.”
“It’s is especially concerning to my husband and myself, because we are raising a strong young African-American 14-year-old son and want him to live in a world where his heroes are people who fought on the right side of history,” said Deborah Stewart, another Dallas ISD parent.
Despite the debate brewing in the community, Dallas Independent School District Trustee Joyce Foreman says that the Board is largely in agreement that the name changes should go forward. “I think the board, in essence, is pretty much together on this. Just, do we waive the current policy or not, and I want an expedient timeline. I’m looking at about two months,” Foreman said.