OKLAHOMA CITY – Three elementary schools named after Confederate generals will be renamed following a unanimous vote by the Oklahoma City school board.
On Monday night, seven members voted to rename Jackson, Lee and Stand Watie elementary schools.
“Overwhelmingly, the people I’ve talked to have said let’s move forward,” said school board member Mark Mann. “Let’s get this behind us, and move down the road, and focus on kids and pick a name that better exemplifies our community.”
Now, they’re considering the method and cost of changing the signage to the school buildings.
Students from the school district are already showing relief.
“It enlightens me a lot to know the school’s going to be renamed and change is going to be done,” said John Marshall High School senior Jordann Goodman.
Larry Logan, past commander of the Oklahoma Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, spoke up in the meeting hoping to convince the board to leave the names as they are.
“It’s not going to diminish those three men. They’re wonderful men. It’s not going to diminish who I am,” Logan said. “I’m a proud descendant of a Confederate soldier, and this isn’t going to change that.”
However, those who supported it said they want to see the area’s schools named after leaders they don’t believe represent hate.
“It might make you scared of things right now because I already know a lot of people are scared of society and stuff today, so why be scared of the one place you should be able to be safe, the one place you should be able to learn?” said John Marshall High School senior Darian Featherstone.
The board looked at costs to change the signage, estimates altogether amounting to a little more than $40,000. Several board members agreed the cost would likely fall on private donors.
“Then, we’ll proceed with the process that will hopefully involve parents, students, staff, community members around those schools and Oklahoma City at large to determine what those new name would be,” Mann said.
He said the process would likely take at least 10 months.