Lanier Gets to Keep Half of Its Name as HISD Expels Confederates

Lanier Middle School, 2600 Woodhead St., Montrose, Houston, 77098

A list of proposed school name changes was released on Friday as HISD moved forward with plans to to cut ties with the Confederacy. The switchover of Henry W. Grady Middle School to Tanglewood Middle School was already approved by the district board of education back in March — here are the 6 and a half new names proposed for the 7 remaining schools, which could be applied by the start of the 2016-2017 school year:


  • Jefferson Davis High School -> Northside High School
  • Dick Dowling Middle School -> Audrey H. Lawson Middle School
  • Albert Sidney Johnston Middle School -> Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School
  • Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson Middle School -> Yolanda Black Navarro Middle School of Excellence
  • Sidney Lanier  Middle School-> Bob Lanier Middle School
  • Robert E. Lee High School -> Margaret Long Wisdom High School
  • John Reagan High School -> Heights High School

Purple Pups can hang on to their L.M.S.-initialed uniform shirts for now: the list proposes to trade out Sidney Lanier Middle School’s honoree for former Houston mayor Bob Lanier, leaving the school’s shorthand name intact. Opportunities for high schools named after Miles Davis, Ronald Reagan, or Spike Lee appear to have been passed over.

Photo of Lanier Middle School: Felipe S.

School Swapouts

30 Comment

  • Interesting email from the Lanier Watchdog group:
    MAY 9, 2016 — The following is a letter from the Rev. Bill Lawson in regards to the naming of Dowling Middle School after his late wife. The Lawson family supports the concept that the COMMUNITY should have input and should support the name of their school and have asked for her name not to be used. But, your HISD trustees rejected that request.

    The Lanier Watchdog group feels strongly that our community’s voice DOES matter. And when 90% of our community says that they want the school name to stay Sidney Lanier Middle School, Houston ISD should LISTEN.

    Don’t you agree???
    From: Rev. William A. Lawson [email removed]
    Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 11:29 AM
    To: Wanda Adams [email removed]; Green, Larry – CNL;[email removed]; [email removed]; Lawson, Roxanne – HCD
    Subject: Renaming a school after Audrey Lawson


    (Considering what you have wanted to do for Audrey Lawson, you are truly friends.) I want to withdraw from the campaign to re-name Dick Dowling Middle School Audrey H. Lawson Middle School. She would not have asked for such an honor, in the first place. But, I am learning that there is some opposition from citizens in the Hiram Clark area, because they are supporting a teacher who has been much beloved in that neighborhood. And none of the Lawson family wants to fight that teacher or those citizens over the name of a school. So, Board Member Adams, please consider Audrey’s name withdrawn when you see letters of support for her. We will support you and the teacher you have chosen. And we count it a high honor that you thought to after an HISD school after Mrs. Lawson at all.

    Bill Lawson and the Lawson family

  • Spike Lee is still living, so that was never a legitimate option. The tragedy is that Bruce Lee was passed over.

  • I have to say, naming the schools after the neighborhoods does make sense….

  • Looking forward to see if political correctness works in reverse and once Bush is implicated in the Sept 11th, 2001 murders and Hillary is convicted if the Bush Airport and Clinton National Airport in Little Rock get renamed.

  • Sidney Lanier Middle School should remain Sidney Lanier Middle School.

  • And all this for the low price of $250,000 per school. Who needs, computers, books or teacher pay raises, we have more pressing issues.

  • Who in their right mind still thinks it’s wise to name a public building after a person?

  • Sam Houston was an alcoholic and we can’t endorse alcoholism. I will spearhead a movement to change the city’s name to Southeast Texas Regional Metropolis and Port.

  • So much for renaming Sidney Lanier after Hal Lanier.

  • Sam Houston was a slave owner, beat up a congressman in the middle of Pennsylvania avenue, and killed hundreds of Mexicans. Do we rename the city?

  • This PC effort to whitewash history is folly.

  • My brother and I attended Lanier in the 80s and 90s and my daughter goes there now. None of us were aware of Sydney Lanier’s (slight) affiliation with the confederacy until Jolanda Jones’s racist and lying tirade where she insulted the current student body and thumbed her nose at the community and constituents that voted her into office. Of course now it’s obvious that she only sought this public office so that she could better advertise her horrible TV show.

    Can HISD board members be impeached? At minimum she owes the kids an apology for the false accusations she made against them:

  • The Miles Davis School sounds pretty good!

  • Jolanda Jones must be removed from the School Board. She is incompetent to serve.

  • Oh! Sidney Lanier Middle School should NOT be renamed. The fight isn’t over.

  • Umm… Sam Houston commanded an army that fought a war with Mexico. They killed plenty of Texans in the process (a majority, as it happens, in cold blood while prisoners). Saying he killed hundreds of Mexicans is plainly disingenuous. Is the expectation that a commandant of an army not engage and dispatch enemy troops? Should they just play red rover or rock/paper/scissor and who ever loses packs up and goes home?

  • @turning_basin ate the Commonsense bait.

    My 2 cents… this is dumb. Whoever is pushing this is looking to create attention for themselves and cares very little about the community.

  • Aren’t schools, supposed to teach history. Not rewrite it.

  • @Turning_Basin, I don’t disagree with you but Mexicans would disagree. Technically speaking, Sam Houston led a revolt and stole land from Mexico (no I don’t want to return it). Technically he led a band of something we today would call terrorists. It’s all about time of events and perspective. While we’re at it, George Washington would have been on the drone kill list today. Just sayin’

  • jesus. most of these proposed school names are based on the neighborhood name itself (e.g., Heights) or some local important figure to that neighborhood (or in the case of Lanier, the former mayor of Houston.) they’re simply better, more relevant names to the neighborhoods they now serve. move on.

  • If HISD proposed opening seven new schools and naming them all after the above referenced figures from the Confederacy, people would think that the Klan was in charge of HISD. But because these school were all named back in the 1920s (when the Klan had a major following in Houston and HISD was segregated by law), the schools are just named after apolitical 19th century Americans, free of any previous and obvious racial animus intended by naming all the white schools in Houston after Confederate figures. Financially, it is a bad time to do this, but it is always a bad time to do anything involving public schools that has a cost attached to it.

  • When the MLK tapes are unsealed in 2027 will we get to do this in reverse?
    South Park Boulevard. Count on it.

  • Who gives a shit. They’re elementary, middle, and high schools. Name them all PS whatever, give ‘me a three digit number and be done with it. Worrying about the name of the middle school you attended 10, 20, 30 years ago is ridiculous..

  • @commonsense please name a regime not established by armed conflict/intimidation with another group.

    FYI there were barely any Mexicans in Texas nor had there ever been. Every attempt Spain and then briefly Mexico made to colonize Texas was abject failure. Not in small part because they would not allow settlers to arm themselves instead relying on small garrisons of poorly supplied and poorly trained troops to perform reactive defense to far superior raiding Indians. They then allowed settlers from the US to settle it. Ideologically different but said they would adhere to Mexican rule. Oil and water, revolution, and the rest is history.

  • Add me to the chorus that this whole renaming process is a “Colossal Waste of Time” (CWOT). I don’t think any child is traumatized by the name of their elementary/middle/high school.
    Looking forward, I wonder what the people screeching about these name changes will fill their days with once it is over? I’d suggest pothole repair duty to occupy their hands.

  • As a Robert E Lee graduate, I agree with the proposed replacement name to the educator Margaret Long Wisdom.

    Not sure all Confederate figures (slight or notable affiliation) should be lumped in together as cads and have their names removed/replaced on public buildings. Each person’s character/history/achievements should be assessed individually. In that vein, I would keep Robert E. Lee’s name on the high school.

  • Why in the world do people think that renaming schools is the same as white-washing history? The name of a building is not a history lesson, it’s purely meant to honor someone. And guess what, we don’t need to honor people of the confederacy. We should teach about them in our history classes, absolutely, but that’s different from paying them homage.
    Also, I’ve said this every time this issue comes up but it’s worth repeating. If you guys actually knew your Texas history you would know that the man our city is named in honor of, Sam Houston, retired from politics in disgust at the confederacy. To have schools honoring confederate people in a city named after a man who hated the confederacy is just ridiculous. You want to respect the legacy of our city then respect the wishes of the man who founded it. You don’t get to have it both ways.

  • White people playing the “victim”. So sad! Who is going to honor our bone-crushing, back-whipping descendants now!!?!?!?! Oh the hypocrisy!

  • I always thought that Reagan High was named after Ronald Reagan

  • @MrEction, you say:

    “To have schools honoring confederate people in a city named after a man who hated the confederacy is just ridiculous.”

    I would be curious to know your definition of “confederate people”. To my mind, your use of the term glosses over the complexities and nuances that were without question a part of the cultural and ideological differences between the North and South. After all, 75% of people living the south did not own slaves. And many who fought for The Confederacy did so to protect states’ rights, not slavery. So, for starters, here are a few possibilities:

    Confederate people:
    1) Anyone living in a state that was part of The Confederate States of America
    2) Anyone owning a slave
    3) Anyone fighting in the Confederate Army