Jacksonville gears up to take Confederate names off schools
Photo via Folio Weekly.

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The process could be long and controversial.

Schools named after Confederate soldiers and icons — long controversial in Duval County — are poised to be renamed with the School Board voting unanimously Tuesday to launch that process.

Ahead of the vote, Duval County School Board Chair Warren Jones said that Tuesday evening’s board meeting would begin a long process of reconsideration.

“We have come to a place and time in the history of our city, that we must begin the process of renaming all the schools named for a confederate soldier. This effort can help to heal a city that is fractured,” Jones wrote to board members, adding that the process is consistent with other city policies.

“In following the lead of our Mayor, who is boldly removing all Confederate monuments, it is high time that we do the same,” Jones, who served for decades on the Jacksonville City Council, wrote.

Mayor Lenny Curry said he had “evolved” on the issue, and Jones suggests that the school district is poised to do the same.

“Renaming of existing schools provides a unique opportunity to further develop an identity of the Board and its schools. Renaming of schools must also support the District School Boards mission, vision and core values and meet the best interest of the schoolsstudents,” Jones wrote, saying the request applies to a number of schools. 

Those include: Joseph Finegan Elementary School; Stonewall Jackson Elementary School; Jefferson Davis Middle School; Kirby-Smith Middle School; J.E.B. Stuart Middle School; and Robert E. Lee High School.

The Superintendent will have to “establish procedures to rename these schools,” a process likely to take some time.

Renaming the former Nathan Bedford Forrest High School to Westside High School took a number of years, and a contemporaneous push to take Lee’s name off the high school has yet to be fulfilled.

However, this may be the time. A petition on Change.org has already received over 10,000 signatures.

“Robert E. Lee’s name is a social stigma that haunts Jacksonville as it is a constant reminder of the racism and hate that exists today. 70% of the students that attend Robert E. Lee are African American. Many of whom don’t have the choice to go to another school since Lee is their neighboring school,” the petition reads.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


3 comments

  • BlueHeron

    June 16, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Moving monuments and re-naming schools is a no-brainer but feels an awful lot like he’s throwing some “bones” to the people of JAX. It’s not even close to being enough. The people will see this for what it is and they will not go away until real changes are made.
    Just curious as to why it takes so long to re-name a school? The school board, city council and Mayor aren’t enough?

  • BlueHeron

    June 16, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    One more thing…
    If all goes according to plan, Trump will be having his big re-nomination event on the 60th anniversary of the brutal KKK race riot known as “Ax Handle Saturday”. June 27th,1960
    Law enforcement were like minded so they just let it happen.

    The irony should certainly not be lost on “normal” people. Just as Juneteenth, Trump and his R’s either don’t know or don’t care. The Mayor should be someone who knows the ugly history of the city he is tasked with governing.

    I don’t know JAX very well. Are there already monuments of some sort that are readily visible to the citizens? Perhaps prominently displayed in multiple locations such as Westside High School which was formerly named Nathan B. Forrest High School in 1959. A former, and first Grand Dragon of the KKK? Whites only lunch counters no longer exist but surely something can be erected in the downtown city proper?

    That day will be very special this year for the black community so it’s a guess as to how it will be commemorated, not celebrated.
    And there is no doubt in my mind that JAX will be awash in the traitorous stars and bars.

  • No More Taxes

    June 16, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    It cost $515,000 to change the name of Forest High School, years ago. The price has gone up. Changing Robert E. Lee, would probably be in the $700,000 in todays dollars. The school is asking taxpayers for a tax increase for 30 years. Are they going to use our tax dollars for this non sense? Just imagine what learning tools that could be bought, instead of wasting it on changing school names. I will say this, if the school board votes to change school names, the tax proposal in November will lose. Think about about that, before doing something stupid. or go ahead, and you wont get any more for the so called needed repairs lol

Comments are closed.


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