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Jacksonville school board renaming six schools honoring Confederate leaders  

Robert E. Lee High is among the schools being renamed 

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This Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 photo provided by the Office of the Governor of Virginia shows a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee being removed from the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington. The statue that has represented Virginia in the U.S. Capitol for 111 years has been removed after a state commission decided that Lee was not a fitting symbol for the state. (Jack Mayer/Office of Governor of Virginia, File)

The Duval County School Board in Florida has voted to rename six schools named after Confederate leaders. Community members urged for the change of nine schools in Jacksonville, which were tied to Confederate history or Indigenous people.  

According to Jacksonville.com, on June 1 the board came to a 5-2 vote in favor of changing the name of six schools and keeping three school names in the district.  

The educational institutions to be renamed are Robert E. Lee High School, Kirby-Smith Middle School, J.E.B Stuart Middle School, Jefferson Davis Middle School, Stonewall Jackson Elementary School and Joseph Finegan Elementary School.  

RELATED: Virginia’s top court says Charlottesville can take down Confederate statues

“As a board and a community, we’ve done really hard things. But we can get this done,” School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen said. “We know who we want to be as a school district.” 

The change comes a year after community members requested the change. DCPS Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene set her recommendations based on community input.  

Effective August 3, the schools will be named Riverside High School, Springfield Middle School, Westside Middle School, Charger Academy, Hidden Oaks Elementary School and Anchor Academy.  

RELATED: Is Removing Confederate Monuments, Changing Sports Teams Names Just A Distraction?

The cost of renaming the six schools is estimated at $825K.  To cover the cost of painting, new uniforms, gym floors and signs featuring the new school names, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund launched the School Renaming Fund. 

According to CNN, the Jacksonville Jaguars have offered to pay for the home athletic costs including athlete uniforms.  

“I want to thank all of the people who participated in this process, and I want to thank the school leaders and district employees who have managed this over the last several months,” Dr. Greene said in a statement. “We’ve had dozens of meetings, hours of public testimony and thousands of votes.” 

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