After almost 11 months of controversy, on Tuesday, the Duval County School Board voted in favor of the superintendent’s recommendation to rename six public schools named after confederate leaders.
According to First Coast News, Board Chair Elizabeth Andersen said 12 schools in Florida currently remain with the names of Confederate figures, and now half of those are changing because of this vote.
News 4 Jax reported that Andersen called the level of community engagement throughout the process “unprecedented.”
“I do think that it’s really historic that we are able to move forward with renaming these schools and that the community was involved in choosing the names,” Andersen said.
“At this point in time, it’s important to start thinking about who we want to be.”
Speaking on the renaming of public schools in Jacksonville, superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said the process had taken an “incredible” amount of personnel, patience, and time.
“Tonight what we do, the goal is that it’s going to make a difference for whether it’s one of our students or thousands of our students because Duval County Public Schools, we are going to get beyond this and we are we are going to ensure that from the board room to the classroom that every day Counts for our students,” Greene said ahead of the discussion.
Anderson also said, “As a board, we were listening to our community members and wanting to move forward so that every student that walks in our building understands that they are respected, that they are capable of achieving their highest potential, and that all of their lives matter.
The vote was 5-2 in favor of changing the names of Lee High, J.E.B. Stuart Middle, Jefferson Davis Middle, Kirby-Smith Middle, Joseph Finegan Elementary, and Stonewall Jackson Elementary– all located in Jacksonville.
The votes not in favor were from Lori Hershey and Charlotte Joyce.
The name changes are slated to be implemented on August 3.