Name change eyed for Benjamin Carson High, other Detroit schools
The Detroit school board voted Tuesday to begin the process for renaming several buildings in the district, including the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine.
The panel this year approved a new policy to commemorate, name and rename school facilities.
Under the measure, the board can opt to change a school’s name to honor “individuals who have made a significant contribution to the enhancement of education,” according to the district. The board also can select another name under circumstances that include when a building is newly built or redesigned, where the name no longer reflects the current student population or “the community of the geographic area where the school is located requests a name change that more closely aligns with the history of the locality, or information newly discovered about the current name of the school is negative in nature.”
Citing those guidelines, the recommendation Tuesday involved four buildings — the Carson site, Harms Elementary School, Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men and Detroit School of the Arts, — as well as three new programs, including one at Marygrove, the Latin School or Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women.
Board member LaMar Lemmons had pushed to rename Carson school, which is named after the Housing and Urban Development secretary and former Republican presidential candidate who graduated from the district.
Lemmons cited the neurosurgeon’s name being added when the district was under an emergency financial manager, saying some residents objected to Carson representing the city.
Residents “don’t support the (Trump) administration,” he said.
The board’s 6-1 vote does not mean the name changes happen.
The district is slated to hold community meetings and complete surveys for each school site to gauge interest in the switch and select possible new names. The superintendent will report the results and make a final recommendation to the board.
That likely won’t happen before the next academic school year, Lemmons said.
“We don’t want to be premature," he said. "The community will have input and influence the process.”