Austin ISD board votes to rename five campuses with Confederate ties

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees has voted 7-2, to change the names of five schools with names associated with the Confederacy.

Testimony for and against changing these names started around 7:30 at AISD headquarters. The schools in question were Eastside Memorial at Johnston, Lanier High, John H. Reagan High, Fulmore Middle and, the John T. Allan facility. 

The catalyst for this discussion started back in 2015, when the community brought up changing Robert E. Lee Elementary’s name. In 2016, the board changed it to Russell Lee Elementary.  Public outcry regarding these five remaining campuses associated with the Confederacy sparked another debate for the board of trustees. 

"I want the board to take action to rename these schools. As an individual, as a person in this community and parent of three children. This is an opportunity for communities to name their schools after people who motivate and inspire them locally," said Ken Zarifis, in support of the name changes.

Some concerned citizens, like Thomas Randall, argued against the name changes saying the changes would be a waste of money.

"It's a slippery slope. If you're upset with the names of these five gentlemen who did very little in the civil war, how about Stephen F. Austin, who as you know, they had him change the constitution in Mexico or at least give him an out so he can bring slaves into Texas," said Thomas Randall, who opposed the name changes.

There is no word on what the board will change the names to yet.