Community coalition asks AISD Board of trustees to rename schools named after Confederate leaders

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A group in downtown Abilene demanded change to several Abilene schools, named after confederate leaders.

A community coalition featured eight speakers ranging from pastors to current students all asking that the Abilene ISD school board change the names of Johnston, Jackson, Lee, and Reagan elementaries.

A historian at the event said these schools were named during a crucial time for American race relations back in the sixties and were not named to honor the confederate leaders but to intimidate students of color who were beginning to segregate into Abilene schools.

Those at today’s conference said the current names do not provide a welcoming environment to minority students.

“When my daughter asks me why did they change the name of my school I’ll say they don’t hate you, baby, not here in Abilene because enough people who were willing to take a stand right here in Abilene, Texas,” said Rev. Deori Newman.

The community coalition wrapped up just in time for AISD’s school board meeting where the board trustees agreed that a name change would likely be in the best interest of the public.

During the public comment portion of the meeting Communications Director, Lance Fleming read aloud several messages from residents in favor of changing the names and some opposed.

“If a name of any type is going to be an impediment to a child or a parent I don’t want that for sure,” said Cindy Earles, AISD trustee place 4.

The board trustees only discussed changing these school names but agree a policy for defining school-naming criteria could be developed as soon as August and/or September.

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