City Schools of Decatur board votes on new name for middle school

A school in Decatur will soon be renamed.

At a May 10 board of education meeting, City Schools of Decatur (CSD) board of education members voted unanimously to change the name of Renfroe Middle School to Beacon Hill Middle School. New signage reflecting the school’s new name is expected to go up sometime before the 2022-23 school year.

The CSD board of education started working with the Decatur community to come up with ideas for renaming the school after a policy was passed in 2021 that states in part, “school buildings where students attend will be given names of local communities, neighborhoods, streets, and landmarks.”

Renfroe Middle School is named after Carl Renfroe who served as superintendent for City Schools of Decatur from 1959 to 1975; the new policy does not allow school buildings to be named after people.

Officials listed some of the positive reasons for renaming the school to Beacon Hill Middle School as “preserving the history of the area and strong community support for the name.”

According to the Decatur Visitors Center, Decatur’s African American Beacon community included public schools at West Trinity Place and Electric Avenue. “Aside from memories and photographs, all that remains of Decatur’s African American Beacon Hill community is a doorway from Herrin Street School, one of three African American public schools,” said officials.

The CSD board of education members said the renaming process included public input sessions, gathering suggestions for names from residents and ultimately giving the three most popular choices to the school charter leadership team to review.

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