In a unanimous vote, the Fort Smith Schools Board of Education took a step forward in creating a more inclusive learning environment for their elementary school students by voting to change the name of Pike Elementary School. In recommending for a name change petitioners stated that in "June 2020, Albert Pike Elementary School in Fort Smith appeared in an Education Week article as one of six Arkansas schools named for a confederate figure. Documented activities and statements of General Pike as described in the attached resolution do not reflect the commitment of the school and the district as a whole to ‘treat all people with dignity and respect’ as articulated in the Vision 2023 Strategic Plan,” noted the recommendation.
Albert Pike is spoken of as the founder of the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War ended.
Andrew McMinn, a U.S. Army combat veteran with two sons in the district, said a building should not be named after someone who took up arms against the United States.
“No person who actively tried to take the lives of American soldiers should be honored with their name on a public building,” McMinn said.