By Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2020

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Clark County School Board has voted to rename a central Las Vegas elementary school after the district’s first Black female principal.

The board voted 5-1 Thursday to rescind the name of Kit Carson Elementary School, expressing concerns over Carson’s role in the death of hundreds of Native Americans during the colonization of the West.

Carson led the Long Walk of the Navajo in 1864, forcing Navajo people to walk from modern-day Arizona to New Mexico in the middle of winter. At least 200 Navajo people died of starvation and exposure.

The board said this week that the school will be named after Helen Anderson Toland, 94, who was the principal of the elementary school in the 1960s when Las Vegas schools were still segregated.

“We’re living in a different time now where not only do we need to review policies, we need to review practices, we need to review programs,” Trustee Linda Young said, adding that four or five other school districts in the country have also considered rescinding Carson’s name from educational buildings.

Of the six school board members present at the meeting Thursday, only one voted against the rename.

Chris Garvey voted against the change because of financial concerns after the district estimated the name change would cost $29,000 to $40,500.

The school would normally cover the cost, but because Kit Carson Elementary officials are not requesting the change, the board must find an alternate funding source, and have asked the community for help.

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