Let’s take a look at the brave souls at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in the Salt Lake City School District of Utah. They recently changed their school name to Mary Jackson Elementary School. Andrew Jackson was known for the Trail of Tears, a cruel relocation of Native Americans, where thousands of people died en route, while Mary Jackson was an African American engineer at NASA. The new school name reflects a more positive image. It was that easy.
So, why are so many schools named after notorious racists and even after KKK Grand Wizards? Who names these schools? Look no further than your local racist school board. The Board of Education is charged with naming public schools in their district. They also have the authority to fix it if it has been inappropriately named. There are hundreds if not thousands of schools that probably should be renamed.
I do think it unacceptable to have a school named after a murderous slave owner or an oppressor of Native Americans, particularly if the school in question consists of predominantly children of color. I would encourage school board members in California schools to reexamine some of the names on their school for appropriateness. I know that we live in a post-Donald Trump world where political correctness isn’t valued, but I still think that it is important that school namesakes reflect positively on the community and respect the demographics of their communities.
It’s time to start asking questions about who schools are named for, and take action if the person whose name is on the school building isn’t reflective of the values of the community.
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