Poll: 54 percent of respondents oppose Austin ISD’s name change decision

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Following the Austin Independent School District board of trustee’s decision on Feb. 26 to officially began the process to rename five district schools, currently named after individuals who had ties to the Confederacy, Community Impact Newspaper asked users on Nextdoor how they felt about the board’s decision.

Based on the Nextdoor poll, which garnered 1,734 votes from Austin-based users, 54 percent of respondents voted that they did not support the board’s actions, while 46 percent of respondents voted that they supported the action.

Schools that will have their names changed are Zachary Taylor Fulmore Middle School; Sidney Lanier Early College High School; John H. Reagan Early College High School; Eastside Memorial Early College High School at the Albert Sidney Johnston campus; and the now-defunct John T. Allan facility.

The poll, which was open to voters for a 24-hour period, received over 130 comments on the name change topic. Here are some of the highlights:

  • “Good decision overall, though I do have some reservation about renaming Lanier HS. It’s true he did serve in the Confederate army, but he was in no way a leader of the Confederacy. It ranks as a minor point in his life. He is recognized for his artistic abilities, not any military or political activities. None of us is perfect and any person deserves to be judged on their overall record.”
    – Nextdoor user Steve Hamlett

  • “Now that I understand the probable purpose of segregation and intimidation, I support using my tax dollars to change the names. It doesn’t erase the past but shows our intent to make progress in the right direction, however small.”
    – Nextdoor user Virginia Moher

  • “No not a good idea. It diminishes the accomplishments of the previous students and teachers. It’s a feeling of abandonment to those who worked hard for their diploma and awards. The price tag to change the names would be better spent on classrooms and supplies especially since many teachers spend their own money.”
    – Nextdoor user Roxann Smith

  • “This is a tremendous step in the right direction by our school board. I agree with many others that our schools presently face a number of issues, and this may not seem like a priority to many, but this decision is long overdue and viewed as a victory to many natives. A vote in favor of the name changes makes me a very proud graduate of AISD.”
    – Nextdoor user Jacob Gonzales
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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016. When he's not writing, Nick enjoys sports, music, great food and bad jokes.
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