Sidney Lanier Middle School parents protest HISD’s proposed school name changes

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HOUSTON, TX -  Long live Lanier Middle School. Just which Lanier, well that's under debate. There's a battle brewing about who the school should be named after. HISD wants to rename the school after former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier and not the original namesake, ex-confederate soldier Sidney Lanier who went on to become a poet. Not so fast, say community residents who claim HISD has no right to change the school's name without informing the public of the costs. Lanier is one of seven schools undergoing a name change. Ron Kahanek, parent of a Lanier Middle School students says, "No one is defending the confederacy in this part of the discussion. What we're showing is just how sloppy, and at the best, the consideration by the board of this topic has been."

Some parents of kids going to Sidney Lanier Middle School have made their displeasure known against the re-branding of the 90-year-old building, saying the community was never told how much money it was going to take to re-name it. Something the group says goes against HISD regulation. Kahanek adds, "When the board established this resolution to rename these schools, the funding cost was none. We have our own study here that says the funding cost on this historic structure alone, is a half a million dollars."

In addition to Sidney Lanier Middle School, HISD's plans to change the names of six other area schools named after confederate notables. Adrienne Murry, parent of Lamier Middle School student says, "This school was never named after Sidney Lanier because he was a confederate. The school is named after Sidney Lanier because of his literary prowess." The board of education will vote on the name change this Thursday.

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