The Dallas school board unanimously decided four schools must change their names honoring Confederate leaders — but many parents cannot understand why.
The board will consider new names in February for Dallas Independent School District elementary schools named for Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and William L. Cabell, reported KERA News.
Several dozen parents jammed into the Stonewall Jackson Elementary library last week, where they debated the coming name change.
“A name defines a person,” said Freida Apodaca, a special education teacher and parent who favors more debate before changing the name. “It’s like when you name your child.”
The name change made no sense to parent David Coon, whose child is a third-grader at the school named for the Confederate general.
“Thomas Jackson died 150 years ago, and ‘Stonewall’ was a nickname,” Coon said. “Now it seems absurd to me to want to change the name ‘Stonewall’ when so many kids identify with it. They are ‘Stonewall Stars,’ and my kid has already come up to me and [said], ‘Daddy, why change the name?’ I can’t come up with a logical answer for him because it is ridiculous.”
“We are Stonewall Jackson,” Coon added. “He is irrelevant at this point.”
The school’s music teacher, Sean McDonald, said he’s often asked about the name because he’s black.
“I don’t tie Stonewall Jackson — the person back then — I don’t tie him to injustices now, and I don’t think having that name necessarily honors him in any way,” McDonald said. “You know, we are Stonewall Jackson. He is irrelevant at this point.”
But Tiffani Evans, a black parent of a 10-year-old son, said Jackson was entirely relevant.
“He’s going to a school that’s being named after someone who was honored for a lost cause, a traitorous type of thing,” Evans said. “It is history, but that doesn’t mean we have to name a school after it. That’s what museums are full of — that’s what books are for.”