Thursday’s Dallas ISD school board meeting will be the first time since white supremacist violence in Charlottesville that the board will discuss potentially changing names of schools with ties to the confederacy.
Many, if not all of the trustees, support the name change. But that's not necessarily the case at each school, where parents have conflicting opinions.
Mary Ann Parrish's online petition to change the name of Stonewall Jackson Elementary School is now up to more than 3,400 signatures.
“The support has been amazing,” Parrish said. “A lot of folks that did not want the change at first are kind of coming around as they've learned the history.”
But there are also those who growing more resolute in keeping the Stonewall Jackson name and want the issue dropped.
“Changing the names is so low on the priority list if things that need to be fixed,” said Chris Tomlin. “It blows my mind that they would waste money that way.”
DISD board president Dan Micciche said he wants parents to know that the board is still focused on improving schools and isn’t being sidetracked by potential school name changes.
He said the board will discuss how to define and decide which schools, like Robert E. Lee Elementary, could see a name change. The board may also consider a resolution on Thursday to expedite the process.
“It's very clear to me that the board is unified that it's time to make these kinds of name changes, that we are also unified in the idea that the local communities need to be involved,” Micciche said.
There is an emerging grey area in the debate at Stonewall Jackson. A growing group is lobbying for keeping Stonewall Elementary, but just dropping Jackson from the name.
“I reached out to the folks who this name affects the most, my African American friends, people in the community and I asked them that. Would it be enough if a changed to be called Stonewall Elementary or Stonewall Gardens elementary. The overwhelming answer was no doesn't do enough,” Parrish said.