Schools named after Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin targeted for renaming in Dallas

The Dallas Independent School District School Board has taken up the issue of renaming schools named after individuals who were racists or had ties to the Confederacy or white supremacy.  The people behind the push came up with a list of 21 schools that might be renamed.

Among those targeted are schools named after Thomas Jefferson, James Madison...and Benjamin Franklin.

Ben Franklin?

College Fix:

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa noted four schools were "priorities": William L. Cabell, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Albert Sidney Johnston.

According to NBC-5, "[t]he board seemed to agree with starting with the four schools recommended."

"I think the board, in essence, is pretty much together on this. Just, do we waive the current policy or not, and I want an expedient timeline. I'm looking at about two months," Trustee Joyce Foreman said.

However, what the NBC-5 report doesn't mention is the list of recommended schools includes the names of three prominent Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin.

The Daily Caller reports that DISD board member Dustin Marshall, at the behest of many of his constituents, posted on Facebook the full list of schools under consideration for new names.

Marshall noted he will not support changing the name of the only school that's in his district, Ben Franklin Middle School:

"I will not support a name change for Franklin since Benjamin Franklin clearly had many accomplishments that form the basis for why the school was named after him. I don't believe this school was named after Franklin to send a signal of oppression and control."

For the most part, reactions to Marshall's school listing were negative:

"Sam Houston?!?! William B Travis??? Now we oppose the Texas Revolution?"

Mr. Marshall must have flunked history.  He forgot to mention something germane to the current debate; Benjamin Franklin founded the very first anti-slavery society in America.  But he is white and hung around with slavers, so he's got to go.

What is most disturbing to me about this mad dash to bury American history is that there is no effort whatsoever to bring any kind of balanced analysis to the examination of a historical figure's fitness to be honored with a statue or school name. 

Human beings are not one-dimensional.  Being human, they have flaws – many of them serious.  Why don't we apply the same scrutiny we are applying to the Founding Fathers to a man like Ted Kennedy, who may not have owned slaves, but treated women as property, not to mention dozens, perhaps hundreds of cases of pushing himself on women that today might be considered sexual assault?  Whatever good he did as a legislator must be seen in balance with his faults.

But apparently, owning slaves or fighting for the Confederacy overrides anything else the historical figure accomplished in life.  This is emotional hysteria, not any kind of intellectual exercise to determine the worthiness of the honor of naming a school after someone.

What's happening should become known as the Second Salem Witch Trials.  Those who stand accused are unable to defend themselves.

The Dallas Independent School District School Board has taken up the issue of renaming schools named after individuals who were racists or had ties to the Confederacy or white supremacy.  The people behind the push came up with a list of 21 schools that might be renamed.

Among those targeted are schools named after Thomas Jefferson, James Madison...and Benjamin Franklin.

Ben Franklin?

College Fix:

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa noted four schools were "priorities": William L. Cabell, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Albert Sidney Johnston.

According to NBC-5, "[t]he board seemed to agree with starting with the four schools recommended."

"I think the board, in essence, is pretty much together on this. Just, do we waive the current policy or not, and I want an expedient timeline. I'm looking at about two months," Trustee Joyce Foreman said.

However, what the NBC-5 report doesn't mention is the list of recommended schools includes the names of three prominent Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin.

The Daily Caller reports that DISD board member Dustin Marshall, at the behest of many of his constituents, posted on Facebook the full list of schools under consideration for new names.

Marshall noted he will not support changing the name of the only school that's in his district, Ben Franklin Middle School:

"I will not support a name change for Franklin since Benjamin Franklin clearly had many accomplishments that form the basis for why the school was named after him. I don't believe this school was named after Franklin to send a signal of oppression and control."

For the most part, reactions to Marshall's school listing were negative:

"Sam Houston?!?! William B Travis??? Now we oppose the Texas Revolution?"

Mr. Marshall must have flunked history.  He forgot to mention something germane to the current debate; Benjamin Franklin founded the very first anti-slavery society in America.  But he is white and hung around with slavers, so he's got to go.

What is most disturbing to me about this mad dash to bury American history is that there is no effort whatsoever to bring any kind of balanced analysis to the examination of a historical figure's fitness to be honored with a statue or school name. 

Human beings are not one-dimensional.  Being human, they have flaws – many of them serious.  Why don't we apply the same scrutiny we are applying to the Founding Fathers to a man like Ted Kennedy, who may not have owned slaves, but treated women as property, not to mention dozens, perhaps hundreds of cases of pushing himself on women that today might be considered sexual assault?  Whatever good he did as a legislator must be seen in balance with his faults.

But apparently, owning slaves or fighting for the Confederacy overrides anything else the historical figure accomplished in life.  This is emotional hysteria, not any kind of intellectual exercise to determine the worthiness of the honor of naming a school after someone.

What's happening should become known as the Second Salem Witch Trials.  Those who stand accused are unable to defend themselves.

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