DENVER — A public school in northeast Denver has changed its name due to its original namesake’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan.
Denver School of Science and Technology: Stapleton is now known as DSST: Montview. DSST Public Schools said Thursday that the change is effective immediately.
The campus, located in the Stapleton neighborhood, is home to both a middle and high school.
DSST said evaluating the merits of a name change and deciding on a new one were “driven entirely by DSST students through an academic exercise designed to promote our students’ civic voice and critical thinking.”
The Stapleton neighborhood was named after Benjamin Stapleton, who served as Denver’s major for five terms during the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.
Stapleton was a member of the KKK. He was one of several politicians who helped the KKK seize control of Denver and Colorado politics during the ’20s, according to The New York Times.
DSST: Montview is the first school in the DSST system. It was simply named “DSST” until a second campus opened in Green Valley Ranch, at which point the name was changed to DSST: Stapleton in order to distinguish the two.
“The decision to change the founding campus name emerged as many of our students come to believe that the Stapleton name no longer represents the rich and diverse community our school serves,” DSST said in a statement.
The new name comes from Montview Boulevard, which runs past the school. The street begins at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and runs east through northeast Denver and Aurora.
“DSST: Montview is a symbolic name that represents the very real connection that this founding school has to the broader city,” DSST said.