Culminating in a failed 2-5 vote Jan. 21, the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) Board of Trustees decided against renaming the BISD Memorial Stadium.
Echoing expressions of exasperation for repeatedly discussing the matter, trustees Thomas Sigee, Denise Wallace-Spooner, Darrell Antwine Sr., Matilda Hickman and Robert Dunn voted against the name change. Trustees Zenobia Bush and Kevin Reece cast the in-favor votes.
“It was and still is very clear to me that the major consensus was to move forward with the renaming of the stadium, a name that would be inclusive to our educational purpose,” said Wallace-Spooner of the prior decision to remove Carrol A. "Butch" Thomas from the signage. “I’m ashamed to be a part of this discussion.”
Wallace-Spooner further asserted the matter be put on the May ballot for the residents of Beaumont to decide the stadium’s name, a notion that was supported by several trustees.
“I think it was wrong to take the name off the stadium; I think it was unjust,” Trustee Zenobia Bush said before mentioning seeing other buildings bear the names of people with less-than-stellar reputations, although she didn’t name any specific structure. Trustee Kevin Reece was the only member who didn’t share thoughts on the vote.
“I don’t understand why we’re still doing this in 2021,” said Dunn. “Why? This is insanity.”
Students of every grade level are scoring low on benchmark tests and other scholastic issues plague the district, he noted, but far too many seem more concerned with the name of a football stadium.
The matter could appear on Beaumont voters’ May ballots. BISD officials could set a special meeting to discuss giving the vote to residents as early as next week.