Community weighing in on AISD campus name changes, days before board vote

Austin ISD is letting the public give their thoughts on the school name change debate. 

The first of two community meetings happened Tuesday, before the board takes up the topic next week district officials had a short presentation explaining to people what the history was behind the name of these five campuses: John H. Reagan High, Lanier High, Fulmore Middle, the John T Allan facility, and Eastside Memorial High at Johnston.

These are the campuses up for a name change. All are names who served in the Confederacy in some form. Attendees had to discuss in small groups, school names in general and their thoughts on of the district’s policy and mission. 

Some of these campuses were named after the Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools.
Attendees had strong opinions about what the board should do, some saying the names are offensive.

"These were plainly messages sent by the school board to students of color that the federal government might start thinking you're a person, but we're not going to," said Bryan Register, who supports the name changes.

"I think it's a waste of money. I went to Lanier for ‘62, ‘63, ‘64 and ‘65 when it was a junior high, when it first opened. Not once did any of my friends ever know he served in the Confederacy," said Tommy Randall, who opposes the name changes.

The next community discussion style meeting is Thursday at Gethsemane Church at 6:00 p.m. The board of trustees will take up the item on Monday, Feb. 26.