The Dallas school board has approved new names for three elementary schools that honored Confederate generals.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the new school names refer to geographical markers instead of generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and William L. Cabell.
The new names:
- William L. Cabell Elementary will become Chapel Hill Preparatory, named for the surrounding community in Farmers Branch.
- Stonewall Jackson Elementary will become Mockingbird Elementary, named for the street the school faces.
- And Robert E. Lee Elementary will become Geneva Heights Elementary, named for the plat of land where the school is built.
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa thanked campus administrators and community members who took part in the renaming process.
"They all rallied behind this, and followed a process, they came back with a product [where] they involved the stakeholders to find something that everyone could support," he said.
Stonewall principal Melanie Mans says she guided a 54-member committee through five meetings and 56 suggestions to eventually settle on three finalists: Mockingbird, Olivia Henderson — a 22-year principal at the school — and East Dallas Elementary.
"It's very important to me and our school that it was very inclusive and that people had a voice," Mans said. "Mockingbird was the one that the committee felt was the best fit for our school."
Parents and administrators at Robert E. Lee selected "Geneva Heights" prior to September, when trustees created a fast-track process to rename the Confederate campuses in response to white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Lee Principal Bert Hart said that in the spring his school community had already begun discussing changing the name because Robert E. Lee wasn't "an all-encompassing name for our school."
Cabell principal Fabian Hypolite said the school conducted a survey of three finalists and received 386 responses. Chapel Hill Prep won the majority of the votes, over Templeton Prep and Ridgeoak Prep — the two cross streets for the campus.
A fourth Confederate-named campus, Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary, selected a new name earlier this month, but not early enough to be included in the December board meeting.
The new name, Cedar Crest Elementary, was chosen over icons Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks, because, as the selection committee said: "We wanted students to know that their possibilities are endless, and that they do not have to look to movie stars, athletes or other professionals in other places — but they can look to the people in their own community."