PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Five Peoria Public Schools are getting new names, three are being re-named after Peoria trailblazers.

Peoria Public School Board President Gregory Wilson spearheaded the proposal after some schools were said to have names with racist ideals.

“Many of the schools that were changed had some type of level of either racism, slave owners, or discriminatory practices amongst minority groups,” said Wilson.

Calvin Coolidge Middle School will be changed to Harold B. Dawson Middle School, Harrison Community Learning Center will be changed to Annie Jo Gordon Community Learning Center, and Roosevelt Magnet School will be changed to The Elise Ford Allen Academy.

Three people in the Peoria community who have all passed away in the last 15 years will now have their names posted on schools come Fall.

Wilson said, “It officially takes place once the students go back to school. They’ll be walking into a school building that may have a different name attached to it.”

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth said having a school named after her mother is an honor.

“Seeing that my mother, 12 years posthumously, has been able to have such a phenomenal honor bestowed upon her, is something that not just myself, but my entire family, feels a great sense of pride in,” said. Rep. Gordon-Booth.

She said changing these schools names will allow the students to dream bigger.

Rep. Gordon-Booth said, “The young people in our community that walk into those doors and attend those schools, they not only can dream to be like the folks that were, that those schools were named after, they can surpass them.”

With a school population carrying 78% of Black and Brown students, the board said they are working to incorporate diversity for all its students in the school names.

“Our city is made up of so many different individuals that really make our city great,” said Wilson.

To read more about each person a school was named after, click here.

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March 15, 2022 at 10:42PM