Peoria Public Schools moves forward with renaming of six schools

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — New names for old schools as six schools in the Peoria Public School District could soon be renamed after a vote by the board Monday night.

School board members voting six to one to start the renaming process of six schools in the district after board vice president Gregory Wilson submitted a proposal to change names of schools with namesakes he says have ties to slavery and racism.

Those six schools that could receive new names are Thomas Jefferson Primary School, Charles Lindbergh Middle School, Washington Gifted School, Harrison Learning Center, Roosevelt Magnet School and Calvin Coolidge Middle School.

With the six-to-one vote, the proposal now moves on to the school district’s building and grounds committee who will discuss potential new names for the six schools.

Board member Dr. Anni Reinking voted in favor for the name changes and said it’s long overdue.

“By keeping these names intact such as the names of our schools, we are passively accepting and mentally sanitizing all of the brutality that came with owning slaves,” Reinking said.

Reinking also said as a mother to a Black child and school board member, she said it was her duty to speak up. She said naming schools after historical figures that reflect the 80% minority student body should be considered.

“By working to change the names, we are actively seeking to make a more just and equitable world and our board is just one way of doing that,” Reinking said.

Board member Dan Walther, the lone ‘nay’ voter and member of the buildings committee said they will take the name changes one school at a time and will consider the names of historically relevant Peorians to replace the current names and believes the community should get input.

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