Superintendent Aurora Lora held a press conference on Wednesday regarding four elementary schools in the Oklahoma City Public Schools district. These four are named after confederate leaders.
Her concerns come after after a deadly protest in Virginia sparked conversations about memorializing confederate leaders.
Lora said, “I will say, the actions that have been going on in the nation are what has sparked the conversation here.”
Lee Elementary School was named after Robert E. Lee; Jackson Elementary School for Stonewall Jackson; Stand Watie Elementary School for Stand Watie; Wheeler Elementary School for Joseph Wheeler.
Lora is worried that families don’t feel safe with the names. “We still want history to be taught at our schools, but we want to think about the people that our buildings are named after and whether they represent the values that we as a district have at this time,” she said.
At the next board meeting on Sept 5, Lora will seek the approval of the board to get community feedback about the changes. If majority of the community agrees, she will appoint a group to find different names. If all of it goes through, the name changes could happen as soon as next school year.
Lora estimates each name change will cost approximately $50,000. She said the funding would come through donations or community partnerships.
“If school names are something that are not helping kids feel valued, then I would support changing them,” Lora said.