Renaming Benjamin Franklin High School

Overview

The Orleans Parish School Board developed a policy to review school buildings named after individuals. This policy had three checkpoints to determine if a school’s name should be reviewed and possibly changed: Did the person own slaves, serve as an official in the Confederacy, or support segregation? For most of his adult life, Ben Franklin enslaved two household servants, and by OPSB policy, his name on school district facilities must be removed.

Katherine Johnson Campus

As of Summer 2021, the school is Benjamin Franklin High School at the Katherine Johnson campus. We are excited to honor Johnson, who calculated the flight path for America's first crewed space mission and moon landing and was among the women profiled in the book and movie Hidden Figures. Until her death in 2020, she was working on the Mission to Mars program. We are thrilled to work with some of her family members to ensure our building celebrates her legacy.

Next Steps

Although OPSB has made its final decision on the building name, BFHS has not made a decision about the name of the school program. In August 2021, BFHS will begin an extensive process, working with our board members and other professionals, to get engagement and opinions from all members of our community — students, parents, teachers, alumni — about whether the school should change or keep the name. Be on the lookout for emails, postcards, and social media posts about this process as it unfolds, and please email us with any questions at info@bfhsla.org.

Read letters from our community here, and send yours to renaming@bfhsla.org.