Renaming proposal sparks tense confrontations, 58 public commenters, at Tuesday school board meeting

Jacksonville, FL. — Tensions soared outside of Duval County Public School headquarters before Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Northside Coalition members demonstrated in front of DCPS headquarters to show support for the possible renaming of nine schools.

Six of the schools being considered for possible renaming are named after Confederate leaders.

During the Northside Coalition’s demonstration, Seber Newsome III stood at the center of the coalition’s rally holding a Confederate flag, as a show support for keeping the names as they are.

DCPS police officers deescalated tense confrontations between Newsome and Northside Coalition demonstrators. Officers insisted Newsome had a right to stand in the middle of the Northside Coalition’s rally.

Inside the board meeting, 58 people spoke out about the possible renaming of nine DCPS schools.

“We shouldn’t even have to be out protesting to get a hurtful, racist, name removed. Because when a child says this name shuts me out and pains me, it should be changed right away,” said a speaker in favor of changing the names.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think if it started from the students, and not by activist groups, I might be more interested in listening,” said a speaker against name changes.

Once community balloting is done in a matter of weeks, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene will recommend to the board whether each school’s name should change or stay the same.

“The Superintendent shall offer to the School Board for its decision by a vote of the Board, either a proposed new name to the Board or recommend no change to the school’s existing name,” says DCPS.

The board will make the final vote on whether the names are changed.

“The School Board may, after considering the submission of the Superintendent’s recommendation, accept or reject the recommendation, or request another name be proposed for its consideration,” says DCPS.

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