Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School Board of Trustees voted unanimously on July 6 to change the School’s name to Trinity Collegiate School. The School citied the segregationist and controversial past of James F. Byrnes (1882-1972) as the reason the school choose to drop “Byrnes” from the name which it had adopted in 2012 when Trinity Collegiate School and Byrnes Academy merged.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Trinity Collegiate School, Dr. William Naso, said “the re-identification as Trinity Collegiate School better reflects the current student body, faculty, and school mission and the Board believes this decision is in the best long-term interest of the students, families, faculty, and alumni, as well as for the continued success of the school as a whole.”
Beginning in January, 2020 an internal task force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was created as part of the school’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan to examine and review all aspects of the school and to ensure the School was living its mission of commitment to diversity and inclusivity as outlined in the plan. As the summer months gave rise to a renewed interest and emphasis on the Black Lives Matter movement, the task force and Board accelerated their review and determined it was the right time and decision to change the name.
“There is a cultural shift taking place in the country right now and everyone and every institution is examining itself and becoming more aware of names, symbols, and language that exclude and alienate certain groups of people”, says Trinity Collegiate School Director of Diversity, Mr. Mike Teasley. “We hope that this change will reflect who we are as a school and send a message to the larger community that Trinity Collegiate School welcomes everyone and embraces diversity in all forms.”
Over the past 5 years, the school has made active strides to become more inclusive and welcoming to all families in the broader community. Students of color make up 31% of the school’s overall enrollment, one of the highest among all South Carolina Independent School Association members (SCISA). By comparison, African-American undergraduate enrollment at the University of South Carolina Columbia campus is 10.2% and only 6.3% at Clemson University.
“This is a bold and progressive step for the School and will better reflect who we are as an institution and community”, said Head of School, Mr. Ed Hoffman. “The School has prided itself on always looking forward and focusing on larger issues and this change is yet another example of the school’s progressive and broadminded approach to education and to issues that are relevant to our students and community.”
James Francis Brynes was member of Congress, served in the executive branch of the US government, served as a Supreme Court judge, and was Governor of South Carolina from 1951-1955. Byrnes opposed anti-lynching legislation and some of the labor laws proposed by President Roosevelt. As governor of South Carolina, Byrnes opposed the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and sought to establish "separate but equal" as a realistic alternative to the desegregation of schools. Byrnes played role in blocking anti-lynching legislation claiming lynching was necessary "in order to hold in check the Negro in the south". As governor he supported segregation in education, stating in his inaugural address, “Whatever is necessary to continue the separation of the races in the schools of South Carolina is going to be done...”.
The Board of Trustees of Trinity Collegiate School and the School Administration has long recognized the James F. Byrnes legacy of segregation and views on African Americans are inconsistent with the core values and mission the School.
Chairman of the Board, William Naso said “Given the school’s longstanding history of promoting a culture of diversity and inclusivity, as well as the student body’s current demographics, this step is appropriate and timely.” He also added that “re-identification will be a process that may take several years to be fully implemented”.
Trinity Collegiate School is currently accepting applications for students entering grades 6-12. Please contact April Munn at email@example.com or 843-395-9124 for more information.
Trinity Collegiate School is a coeducational, non-discriminatory day school in Darlington, South Carolina. The school’s mission is to operate exclusively as a college preparatory school of academic excellence; graduating well-rounded students of intellectual, social, and moral character ready to lead productive lives in a global society.
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