HISD talks renaming schools named for Confederate loyalists

HISD in talks to change the names of schools named after Confederate leaders.

HOUSTON - Houston Independent School District says it's open to discussing renaming several schools named for Confederate loyalists.

This isn't the first time the issue has come up; it was discussed in 2013 and 2014 when HISD changed several school mascots deemed politically incorrect or culturally insensitive.

"This isn't a conversation that's new," said Rhonda Skillern-Jones, HISD's president, "but I think in light of what happened in South Carolina, I think it's an appropriate time to have a conversation."

Community activist Linda Scurlock agrees. For several years she has wanted the name changed on Dowling Middle School.

"Because he was a Confederate soldier," said Scurlock, "and I think that everybody knows what the Confederacy stands for."

Dowling is set to be rebuilt and Scurlock has started a petition and is collecting signatures to get a new name along with it.

"For black people it stands for hate and division. It's time to change history," Scurlock said.

Now there's a chance it could change. On Thursday Skillern-Jones said HISD is open to discussing the issue.

"I just think that it's time that we take a look at making sure that all of our names reflect the values that we want our district to portray," explained Skillern-Jones.

Six school's would be up for renaming including Jefferson Davis High School. Michael Velasquez is a 1967 graduate of Davis and wants the name to stay put.

"I think it would sadden a lot of people," Velasquez said. "They've never had a problem with it all these years why would they have a problem with it now?"

The cost is yet to be determined; that is a figure the trustees will discus.


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