Lanier Forever! Well, Bob, Not Sidney, if HISD Approves the First Name Change

Talk about fine tuning. After all the fuss about taking away the Lanier Middle School name,  the Houston ISD has come up with — depending on your point of view — a brilliant or wussie decision. 

Instead of continuing to call the school Sidney Lanier after the Confederate soldier ("and poet!" the crowd shouts), it would be named after former mayor and all-round statesman Bob Lanier. In making its case, an HISD press release points out: "His [Lanier's] popularity cut across racial, ethnic and political party divides."

So, the school, while it will have to make some changes in its lettering, won't incur quite the massive costs opponents to the change and even the district were predicting. 

Other name changes up for consideration at the Thursday, May 12, night school board meeting:

Lee High School would become Margaret Long Wisdom High. A lifelong teacher and Teacher of the Year, she taught history, government and journalism for 38 years at...wait for it...Lanier! (ah, the gods are laughing somewhere).

Johnston Middle School would become Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, named after the neighborhood. 

Jackson Middle School would change to Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School of Excellence. Navarro served on the METRO Board and the Houston Parks Board and was the founder of the Association for the Advancement of Mexican-Americans. 

Reagan High School would become Heights High, another neighborhood name pick. 

Dowling Middle would become Audrey H. Lawson Middle. There has been some opposition to this from people saying that while Lawson did many fine things, she had little to do with their particular neighborhood or school. But Lawson was well known for her work with the Ensemble Theatre, as the wife of the Reverend Bill Lawson of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and as someone who started two charter schools, so her name seems like a safe bet for passage. 

Davis High would become Northside High, again changing the school's name to reflect its neighborhood. 

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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