By: Christian Alejandro Ocampo | / Laredo Morning Times


For over a month, protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement have advocated for law enforcement reform across the country following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of police.

To interrogate and upend institutional racism is generally a controversial and unwieldy process. A much more immediate recourse has been the removal of Confederate monuments scattered around the country, which many mayors, city councils and even protesters themselves have accomplished in recent weeks.

In Laredo, there are no statues of Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis, but there is an elementary school named after Col. Santos Benavides, the highest ranking Tejano in the Confederate Army, a slave catcher, former mayor of Laredo, county judge of Webb County and state legislator for the area.

In a statement to LMT, United ISD said the school’s namesake was honored for his accolades as a public servant of Laredo and Webb County.

“Certainly, the district is cognizant of the military service of Col. Benavides and is sensitive to community concerns,” reads the statement. “To be clear, it is and always has been the policy of the district to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind, including racism.”

Most UISD board members did not respond to repeated requests for comment on whether the school’s name should change.

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