Online petition to change the names of neighborhood schools Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson

Stonewall Jackson Elementary School
Stonewall Jackson Elementary School

For years we’ve heard idle talk about changing the names of two neighborhood schools — Robert E. Lee Elementary School and Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, which are both named for famous (infamous?) commanders in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

We’ve heard rumors of possible petitions before, but until recently we have never actually seen one surface. A few weeks ago, an online petition seeking to change the names of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson was posted.

The petition was created by Krista Tartoni, who says when she first moved to Dallas she was “surprised and disappointed that these schools… were named to honor Confederacy figures.”

The petition, which was created on Change.org, has 56 supporters, and it needs 100. It urges neighbors to “please add your name to those of your neighbors who want Miguel Solis and the DISD Board of Trustees to give these schools a name that reflects the values of 21st century Dallas.”

Tell us what you think: Should East Dallas rally to change the names of these neighborhood schools?


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  • Grueneman

    Allowing the school names to remain is an opportunity to engage the children in who the figures were. Regardless what others say, the Civil War was about state’s (individual) rights to govern themselves. Yes, slavery was likely the subject right at issue during the period, but we are still dealing with Federal overreach and the need for balance.

  • Grueneman

    Ms. Tartoni should move back where she came from or get thicker skin if she’s going to remain here. It’s history. Learn from it.

  • observist

    The Confederates should absolutely be in the history books, we just shouldn’t name our elementary schools after them. You know, like Hitler.

  • observist

    Lee hated slavery so much he led troops to war to protect his beloved Virginia’s right to keeps slaves.

    Here is an excerpt from Virginia’s secession declaration:

    “the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.”

    No other specific injury was implied in the declaration. Most of the states’ declarations were more explicit, but it’s clear that slavery was not incidental to the war, it was the reason for the war.

  • lindsay

    Don’t live in a state where our ancestors fought in the Confederate army if you have a problem with it. Like it or not, it is our history – right or wrong, our families fought and died in the war. If you delete the Civil War, that changes the history of our country and our state. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  • PeterTx52

    the Atlantic is a left-leaning publication that has been shown to shade the truth to fit their beliefs.

  • Sweatdeeztexas

    OMG….anyone and everyone wants to take any opportunity to be an advocate these days. Leave it alone already.

  • pbluett

    You might start with defamation– and include Phil Kingston–a local politician who seems to think your ancestor was part of the Klan (which started this whole process). Also the Dallas Morning News might make an interesting target.

  • alan mcgrew

    To
    all and any institutions with the venerable name of “Stonewall Jackson”
    adorning your halls……… prepare for major class action law suits
    from at the very least, The McGrew and Jackson Family’s ……. decide
    if your decision is worth enriching our
    coffers for your illogical actions. You have been forewarned and this is
    an open declaration of civil (court) war! Heritage was earned ……..
    removing it will be UN-necessary and painful for all concerned. We will
    be watching and starting suits as necessary. Stop rewriting History and changing southern heritage!
    To
    all bearers and ancestors of names consistent with confederate history
    and heritage; make your move now to demand that your heritage be left
    alone! History will remember this as the day the South rose again! Feel
    free to use any part of this reply to make your own version.

    Link to Saving our Heritage and History
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/698259873635303/

  • Elliott Wilson

    Instead of having a petition to change the name, there should be a petition to keep it. That way, years from now, your grandchildren will see your name on that petition and have something to be extremely embarrassed about.

  • pbluett

    And of course no one in the North felt that way at all about immigrants or others in their midst. This is a pretty common Victorian 19th Century notion which even applied at that time to the rearing of children. Perhaps we should review and cherry pick any correspondence of that time (out of context-naturally) in order to support our campaign of PC revisionism (Sarcasm intended)

  • pbluett

    Even more problematic than Kingston’s hearsay (was he actually there? is a Klan member?) is the fact that Lee and Jackson had no actual Klan connections, unlike some others. Lee was in Texas prior to the Civil War in US Army corps of engineers, was an educator and was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson for his part in the Civil War conflict. I have a real aversion to recently relocated activists, who wish to impose their biases without actual verified facts. Since the Klan was active in most northern as well as southern states, perhaps the originator of this petition might do better investigating Klan activities in her place of origin (if the now virtually defunct anachronistic organization worries Ms. Tartoni so much).

  • SouthOf635

    No. Aren’t these names just a great opportunity to educate the students about the Civil War and Dallas history? Plus, these schools have a great legacy of education under these names. I can think of thousands of better ways to spend DISD money.

    Also, where does the re-naming game stop? Lee and Jackson? Belo Corp and Gardens? Gaston Rd? So many places are named after one-time Confederates – many of whom no doubt had no connection to slavery beyond serving in the CSA military in what they believed to be in defense of their home states, homes, and families.

    Finally, so, the Petition is based on something Kingston said about the KKK? “I talked to Kingston who says…” Is Kingston now the authority on all Dallas history?

  • Flex Tijerina

    I think people should learn forgiveness for actions done by those who aren’t alive to speak on there behalf and not be so quick to judge those they do not know for they to will be judged by thy heavenly father and do you really want to be known as one who hated a name and changed it instead of changing the lives of the children who are learning by giving to that so called school I think that would be better justice

  • CJ

    Oh wow, what an absolutely amazing typo… “loin”-izing adulterers?? Hello, Mr. Freud! 🙂

    I definitely agree that not everyone in the history book is a saint, and I also agree that good people do end up on the “wrong” side of history occasionally. While I think it is a good idea to teach students that historical figures are not perfect, I don’t necessarily agree that we should hold up figures who fought for unjust causes like the Confederacy. Lee may not have been pro-slavery, but he still fought on the side that wanted to keep it.

  • Belasaurius

    I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.
    —Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Lee, December 27, 1856

  • Adam W Vanek

    If it’s from the Atlantic it must be true, then. Just ignore the handwritten letters to his wife calling slavery, a “moral and political evil”. #AnInconvenientTruth

  • Lee Gibson

    Not so. Read this five-year old article from The Atlantic that refutes this widely believed fairy tale about Lee. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/08/arlington-bobby-lee-and-the-peculiar-institution/61428/

  • Lee Gibson

    Not so. I encourage you to read this five-year old article at The Atlantic setting this widely believed falsehood straight.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/08/arlington-bobby-lee-and-the-peculiar-institution/61428/

  • Superficial Outrage

    Durr, Lee fought for the Confederacy so he loved slavery, durr. That myth is absolutely false. Lee despised slavery, but his patriotism for his home state of Virginia outweighed his hatred of slavery. Nuance and the internet do not mix, and I hope that superficial and trolling mentality does not spread (any further) within DISD. This would be a great opportunity to teach kids that a person’s identity isn’t confined to what they believe about a single issue, or how they act in a single environment; if that were the case then no one in history could be a role model. JFK and MLK were serial adulterers, but they are loinized for their legitimate virtues. Why not use Lee and Jackson as examples of people who have virtues, but also faults?

    DISD needs to focus on figuring out how to attract a top notch superintendent who is willing to put up with their BS long enough to effectuate real change that actually improves the lives of their students.

  • Adam W Vanek

    Just stop. History has proven that REL opposed the institution of slavery. Before people start asking that all Confederates be removed from the History books, they themselves need to brush up on their history.

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  • Kathleen Casey

    Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson! What about the confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston? Killed in action in 1862, some historians believe the south might have won if he had lived longer. I have been trying to get DISD to look at the irony of a nearly all Black elementary school, 2020 Mouser Lane, named after this “hero” since 1977. (
    To no avail.)

  • TexasRangerMan

    Just a note of correction – that petition has bee up since around mid-May rather than just after the Charleston shootings. It’s been causing a lot of discussion on NextDoor sties for several weeks.