Atlanta board to vote on renaming high school after Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron smiles during a 2014 interview. The Atlanta school district will vote Monday on naming a school after the late baseball player. CURTIS COMPTON / AJC FILE PHOTO
Hank Aaron smiles during a 2014 interview. The Atlanta school district will vote Monday on naming a school after the late baseball player. CURTIS COMPTON / AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

The Atlanta school board is expected to vote Monday on a proposal to pay tribute to baseball great Hank Aaron by changing the name of an alternative high school in southwest Atlanta.

Officials want to find a new name for Forrest Hill Academy. Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose name the school shares, was a Confederate general and a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

A school board committee tasked with suggesting a new name met Thursday and recommended calling the school Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy.

The final decision is up to the full board, which will meet Monday.

Aaron, a Hall of Fame Atlanta Braves baseball player who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, died earlier this year at the age of 86.

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Forrest Hill principal Zawadaski Robinson said employees and students like the idea of honoring Aaron because of his life history. Board vice-chair Eshé Collins said Aaron was a strong supporter of Atlanta Public Schools.

“He’s done significant work for our children,” she said.

A district policy requires waiting five years after someone dies before naming a school after that person. The board will need a unanimous vote in order to waive that restriction.

There is precedent for such a move, including APS decisions in 2017 to name schools after U.S. Rep. John Lewis and Barack and Michelle Obama.

Other names the committee considered for a rebranded Forrest Hill included Hammond Park New Beginnings Academy, which would mark the neighborhood where the school is located, and Barbara Whitaker New Beginnings Academy, for a former APS assistant superintendent who died last year.

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