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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A Florida college board is renaming center and excessive faculties honoring Accomplice leaders

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After debating the problem for a yr, the Duval County Faculty Board in Jacksonville permitted on Tuesday the district’s suggestions to strip and substitute the names.

The faculties to be renamed are Joseph Finegan Elementary Faculty, Stonewall Jackson Elementary Faculty, J.E.B. Stuart Center Faculty, Kirby-Smith Center Faculty, Jefferson Davis Center Faculty and Robert E. Lee Excessive Faculty.

“The extent of group engagement on this course of was in contrast to something we have now ever skilled,” college board Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen mentioned in an announcement. “The assist of organizations just like the Jax Chamber, the Florida Instances-Union, and the NAACP show how significant this was to our future as a group. Each message we ship our youngsters must be about inclusivity and belonging. Eradicating Accomplice names from our faculties helps accomplish that.”

1000’s of stakeholder teams, together with college students and group members, participated within the balloting course of to supply enter on whether or not or not they wished the names of their faculties modified.
“I wish to thank the entire individuals who participated on this course of, and I wish to thank the college leaders and district workers who’ve managed this during the last a number of months,” DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene mentioned in an earlier assertion. “We have had dozens of conferences, hours of public testimony and hundreds of votes.”
The faculties have been given new names — Anchor Academy, Hidden Oaks Elementary Faculty, Westside Center Faculty, Springfield Center Faculty, Charger Academy and Riverside Excessive Faculty — efficient August 3.

Board member Ashley Smith Juarez requested the names of three extra faculties — Jean Ribault Center Faculty, Jean Ribault Excessive Faculty and Andrew Jackson Excessive Faculty — to be modified. Ribault and Jackson have been individuals “accountable for systematically marginalizing and killing Indigenous individuals,” Juarez mentioned in her request.

“After dozens of conferences, hours of public testimony and a large stakeholder balloting course of, the advice to the board was to depart these three names and to vary the unique Accomplice six,” Duval County Public Colleges spokeswoman Tracy Pierce advised CNN. “The Board permitted that suggestion, and people names is not going to change.”

The Jacksonville Public Schooling Fund (JPEF) has launched the Faculty Renaming Fund to cowl the prices of renaming the six faculties. This may embody portray, altering uniforms, indicators and health club flooring to match the faculties’ new names.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have additionally provided $200,000 to pay for athletic and cheerleader uniforms for the faculties present process the title adjustments, Pierce mentioned.

Regardless of the decision, the choice didn’t come with out opposition.

Because the district began holding public conferences on whether or not Robert E. Lee Excessive Faculty needs to be renamed, the dialogue at these conferences grew more and more heated.
Opponents of the renaming effort made controversial statements reminiscent of “Jesus himself was by no means in opposition to slavery” and “You may’t cancel historical past.”

George Floyd’s impression

The loss of life of George Floyd has led to the removing — by protesters in some instances and metropolis leaders in others — of contentious statues which have riled some residents for many years, if not longer.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on Might 25, 2020, in Minneapolis. Whereas being arrested, Floyd was held down by a Minneapolis police officer’s knee for greater than 9 minutes. His loss of life sparked widespread protests throughout the US, with individuals calling for an finish to police brutality in opposition to individuals of colour.
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Within the wake of Floyd’s loss of life, a minimum of 168 Accomplice symbols have been eliminated or relocated from public locations, in keeping with the Southern Poverty Regulation Heart.
“I believe all of us have been touched by the video recording of the homicide of George Floyd in Might of 2020,” board member Warren Jones, who sponsored the request to vary the Accomplice names, mentioned throughout a board assembly. “For these of us who grew up right here like myself, I used to be grateful however very shocked when [Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry] eliminated the Accomplice statue from what was recognized on the time as Hemming Park. These two occasions prompted me to ask this board … to rename the six DCPS faculties which are named for Accomplice officers.”

“It was clear to me that with the removing of Accomplice monuments in Jacksonville that the main target would flip to the college board and I felt we needs to be proactive and study the historical past of these faculties named for Accomplice officers,” he mentioned.

1000’s of youngsters throughout the US attend faculties that bear the names of Accomplice leaders who fought to protect slavery.
Greater than 240 faculties throughout the US are named in honor of Accomplice leaders, in keeping with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Roughly half of these faculties serve college students which are predominantly Black or non-White.

CNN’s Harmeet Kaur contributed to this report.

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