Residents react to shortlist for new WFISD high schools names

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) Since the release of the top five names for each of the two new Wichita Falls Independent School District high schools, some community members have many questions about the naming committee members’ decision.

KFDX’s newsroom tried to get in touch with individuals on the naming committee however several refused to speak after receiving nasty comments and threats, others are afraid of being contacted or harassed.

WFISD officials released this statement as a result.

WFISD would like to thank the members of the School Naming Committee for the time and thought that went into their naming decisions of the two new high schools. Ultimately, the names of both new high schools will be the decision of the Board of Trustees. The members of the School Naming Committee simply narrowed down a much larger list to the names they felt best represented the community as a whole. Over the next two months, the Board of Trustees will review the committee’s recommendations and may choose one of the names put forth by the committee or select names off the original submission list. 

WFISD official

Meanwhile, social media has been buzzing about the short list.

Some said it is too soon to be considering names and others said the important thing is there will in fact be new schools.

Scotty Coppage is a long-time Wichita Falls resident, Rider High School graduate and former teacher of 11 years, who said in the midst of the controversy being caused by the naming of the two new high schools, residents should pay attention to what he thinks is actually important.

“We got the big things done, we got the bonds passed, these schools are gonna be getting built, the names aren’t super important and I’m totally fine with a boring generic name, like Wichita Falls West [or] Wichita Falls East,” Coppage said.

Monday night, the WFISD’s school naming committee approved ten potential names for the schools.

Some people, like Hirschi High School graduate Ashley Pike, said if the names cannot represent all three current high schools then officials should in some way preserve the history.

“Maybe at both schools there be some sort of memorial for all the high schools, whether that be a trophy case with trophies from each one, a plaque saying the name and the year the school was in service and some of their achievements and accomplishments,” Pike said.

There were 140 names for the committee to consider, including several honoring prominent local figures.

However, one committee member said groups ultimately decided that naming the school after a person was probably not the best option.

That too is not sitting well with some Wichitans.

“I was a little disappointed, I think they should definitely be considered, there’s a lot of names of important people who served in this community,” Pike said.

“It would’ve been cool to do it but then again, it’s hard to name schools, it’s hard to make these decisions, I don’t envy the committee at all on having to go through all these names and all the discussions they had to have,” Coppage said. “Because you’re always gonna be making someone mad or someone is gonna feel slighted.”

One committee member who wanted to remain anonymous said the group pushed hard to address the school board policy that wouldn’t allow them to name the schools after a living person.

“We had multiple names we were considering putting in our final five. The last decision we made before finalizing our five was to remove names as not to leave anyone out. I don’t want the committee to be portrayed inaccurately. We did consider multiple names and we pushed hard to have the policy of using names of those still living addressed. That is a policy change that happened in 2012 and hasn’t been addressed since.”

Naming committee member

Pike however believes the decision is being made too quickly.

“For something so important that the community has pushed for bonds for bigger schools for so long now, new schools, I think it was just kinda quick-rushed to choose names,” Coppage said.

The final names of the schools will be up to the WFISD School Board as late as July.

All in all, Pike and Coppage said the important thing is getting the schools built for the next generation of kids to attend.

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July 23 2021 05:30 am

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