Name of new school campus causes controversy

Lockhart Elementary School in Houston's Third Ward
August 22, 2013 3:18:15 PM PDT
Emotions are running high in Houston's historic Third Ward, and at the center of the controversy is the name on a new elementary school building.

Lucian Lockhart Elementary School will be formally dedicated Thursday, but protestors plan to picket outside.

"We are not in favor of losing our historical footprints in our community," said Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, who's organizing the protest.

Houston ISD recently combined two elementary schools, Turner and Lockhart, into one campus, with a new building. But the school name now only reads Lockhart Elementary, with no mention of Turner, upsetting some community members who feel Turner Elementary has been forgotten.

"I kind of equate it to a mother having a baby and the nurse coming into the room, taking the baby and naming him and bringing him back and telling you, 'Now I want to support him and raise him but I'm going to name him,'" Evans-Shabazz said.

But HISD officials say these protestors are a small minority and they followed protocol when naming the school.

"We put a committee together that included community members, and that community overwhelmingly recommended going forward with the Lockhart name," HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer said.

Spencer says district staff met with community members several times even after the vote.

"The board asked HISD staff, including senior staff, to go out and meet with the community again, which happened on two different occasions, to get more feedback and explain the process. As the result of those meetings, the recommendation held to move forward," Spencer said.

That dedication ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9am. About 15-20 protesters are expected to be there.

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