Republic Schools considering name change for schools named after Confederate Generals

Local News

REPUBLIC, Mo — The Republic School district is currently considering changing the names of their elementary schools, all of which are named after generals who fought in the civil war at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

This comes after several families have brought their concerns to the attention of the school district.

Superintendent Dr. Matt Pearce says this is something the district has heard before.

“We’ve had this come up in previous years. Never to the quantity that we’ve had this year with some of the things that have happened across the country,” says Pearce.

Pearce has been in the district for 8 years.

10 years ago, Republic’s five elementary schools in the district underwent a name change. Formally known as E-1, E-2, E-3 and so on, the schools were renamed after the elementaries transitioned from students being assigned to schools by grade level, to being assigned by where they live.

“When that happened, it’s my understanding that the board partnered with the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield, and used the historical event of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and the generals that were there to name the elementary schools,” Pearce says.

Three schools, Lyon, Sweeny, and Schofield are named after Union Generals.

Price and McCulloch, named after southern Confederate generals, are the ones Pearce says people have the biggest issues with. Pearce says there was never intent to offend, but he understands that people have concerns.

Jeff Patrick, a historian at the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield there in Republic, explains who those southern confederate generals are.

Benjamin McCulloch

“McCulloch, who was the overall southern commander at the battle of Wilson’s Creek. We say Southern rather than confederate commander because it was coalition army at Wilson’s creek. Three different armies came together for that campaign,” explains Patrick.

Sterling Price

“Sterling Price is more famous to many Missourians because he did just about everything. He was a general in the Mexican-American war. He had served as congressman, served as Governor.” says Patrick.

Patrick says the naming of the schools was something the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield’s now-retired Superintendent Ted Hillmer helped with.

“He really took an active role in the naming of the schools, and he saw it as an opportunity to transform schools that were named as we discussed earlier – E1, E2, – to change those names to honor the prominent officers who took place on the battle of Wilson’s Creek just a few minutes drive from Republic and from those schools.” says Patrick.

Now, Pearce says a district facilities committee will be reaching out and gathering feedback from families so they can make a decision on their next steps, even if that possibly means renaming those schools.

“We want all of our kids to feel loved on. We want them to feel safe, secure, and make sure we’re challenging them academically so that they can meet goals. If there is something that is preventing that from happening, then we want to take a look at that,” says Pearce.  

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