Controversy at Treadwell High over removal of military plaque - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Controversy at Treadwell High over removal of military plaque

They are students and faculty of Treadwell High School who fought in World War II...their names, more than 240 in all, make up a list on a 3 by-5 foot plaque that was on display at the entrance to Treadwell High School for more than 50 years.

The removal of the plaque angered many, including military veterans like Lt. Col. Enrico Clausi.

"It should be out where everybody could see what they did and what this school did and contributed to the nation," Lt. Col. Enrico Clausi said Thursday.

The plaque had been on the wall at Treadwell's main entrance welcoming future students and staff since the 1940's, but two months ago, the principal had it taken down.

"She wanted to put some bulletin board up there...a cork bulletin board up there," Clausi said. "I said, 'Well, you put it down in my classroom where it is not going to disappear. This is part of our history.'"    

Poole said she just wanted what was best for her school.

"I thought it would be more befitting to have a welcome sign in the front of the school," she said.

Memphis city council member and Vietnam vet Henry Hooper was outraged.

"It should be were it was where it has been for 55 years," he said Thursday.

But Poole said she wanted the plaque in the auditorium.

"We have a lot of older pictures from when the school first started, so we were going to put it in that area," she said.  But until late Thursday, in the two months since it had been taken down, it was not put on display in the auditorium.

"There was no other plans before you showed up on the scene," Hooper said to Action News 5's Andrew Douglas.

Memphis City Schools Interim Superintendents Dan Ward would not comment on camera, but his opinion was loud and clear, when the plaque was restored late Thursday to where it had been for nearly six decades.

In a statement, a Memphis City Schools spokesperson said, "Memphis City Schools recognizes and greatly respects the tremendous sacrifice made every day by our men and women in uniform.  It will remain at its original location serving as an impactful reminder to all who visit Treadwell High School."

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