MADISON, Wis. — After an effort to remove James Madison’s name from Memorial High School was successful, another school in the district might have its name changed as well.
The Madison Metropolitan School District’s Board of Education met Monday night to start the process of potentially removing Thomas Jefferson’s name from the district’s west side middle school.
After very little discussion, the school board voted unanimously to create a 12-person committee to evaluate the possible name change. Late last month, the school’s principal read a letter from the school community asking the district to start the renaming process.
It’s a similar method that was used in the process to rename James Madison Memorial High School, which will become Vel Phillips Memorial High School at the start of the next school year.
The reason for this name change is likely linked to the fact that Jefferson owned around 600 slaves. Jefferson has been linked with sexually abusing Sally Hemmings, whom he owned from the time she was a child. James Madison’s status as a slave owner was a driving force in removing his name from the high school next door.
Jefferson Middle School parent Dan Kramer is open to change.
“It’s supposed to be reflective of the community. If the community thinks that it’s time for a change, then I’m ok with that,” he said.
While parents are likely to disagree about the topic, Kramer said what’s most important is his child receiving her education.
“This is a public school, it’s meant to represent the community it’s in so I really don’t have a problem with any name change,” he said. “They can change it every year for all I care.”
There is no exact timetable for when this change may happen.