LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education will consider changing the name of Oñate High School on Thursday.
"It gives us an opportunity to have a healthy debate," Kelly Jameson, a spokeswoman for the district, said on Tuesday. "What's in a name? What does that represent for our students, for our district and our community?"
The school, named after Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate, has been in existence for 30 years.
"I'm not here to try to defend Juan de Oñate," said Kelly Bloomfield, an Oñate parent and head of the track and cross country booster clubs. "I'm here to try to point out the fact that today, in 2020, the legacy of Oñate High School is not Oñate the conqueror."
Statues of Oñate have come down across New Mexico and a statue was vandalized at the airport as the country questions controversial figures throughout U.S. history.
"It's certainly not a new discussion," Jameson said. "We've had this discussion in the past. But I think what we're seeing now is a different kind of momentum that's going on in the nation and certainly here in New Mexico."
Bloomfield told ABC-7 that the money to change the name of the school would better help students during a time when the state is strapped for cash.
"This change is going to cost money," Bloomfield said. "Changing the name of this school does nothing for students. It does nothing for their future."