School May Be Named for Integration Figure

He once sued the school district. Now district officials may name a school after him.

Santa Ana Unified School District board members today will consider naming a planned space-saver school after Gonzalo Mendez, who filed a lawsuit 51 years ago that led to the integration of Orange County schools.

Mendez, who died in 1964, originally sued the Westminster school district, opposing the segregation of Latinos. The lawsuit was later expanded to include other Orange County school districts, including Santa Ana.

Gonzalo Mendez is one of seven names being considered for the new intermediate school, called a space saver because it will be built on a relatively small parcel. The location is behind Bristol Marketplace at Bristol and 17th streets.


Other names on the list include those of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. and Orange County’s first female doctor, Willella Howe-Waffle.

The school board will meet at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 1601 E. Chestnut Ave.

Information: (714) 558-5512.