Duval County schools stakeholders vote to rename 6 schools named for Confederate leaders

The superintendent will consider voters’ input before making official recommendations

The Florida Times-Union | Emily Bloch – First Coast News | May 19, 2021

Duval County Public Schools have released the results of the voting on whether to change the names of several schools in the district.

Voters chose to change the name of six schools while keeping the names of three others.

The schools that voters chose to keep the names of are:

  • Jean Ribault High School
  • Jean Ribault Middle School
  • Andrew Jackson High School

Meanwhile, the school names that voters chose to change are:

  • Kirby-Smith Middle School
  • Joseph Finegan Elementary School to Anchor Academy
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary School to Westside Academy
  • Jefferson Davis Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • J.E.B. Stuart Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • Robert E. Lee High School to Riverside High School

After voting whether to change the name of a school, voters were also asked to vote on a new name if a school’s name were to be changed. For the schools that the majority of voters chose to change the school’s names, the following were the top choices for new names:

  • Anchor Academy (Joseph Finegan Elementary School)
  • Westside Academy (Stonewall Jackson Elementary School)
  • Westside Middle School (Jefferson Davis Middle School)
  • Westside Middle School (J.E.B. Stuart Middle School)
  • Riverside High School (Robert E. Lee High School)
  • Kirby-Smith Middle School (Kirby-Smith Middle School)

For Kirby-Smith Middle School, while the majority of voters wanted to change the school’s name, “Kirby-Smith Middle School” received the highest number of votes among the choices listed with 42 percent of the votes.

For the past several months, local activist groups have urged Duval County Schools to change those named after controversial historic figures, most notably leaders of the Confederacy. 

“Our goal was to give our community a voice in this process,” Superintendent Diana Greene said. “Constituents have participated in dozens of meetings, and now thousands have shared their voice through this balloting process. My job is to synthesize all of this input and bring the recommendation that I feel is best for our schools, our community, and most important, our students.”

A student walks past the Robert E. Lee High School sign announcing the community meeting on changing the school’s name Bob Self

Greene will consider the voters’ input over the next several days before making official recommendations on Tuesday.

Greene’s recommendation will be discussed at the June 1 school board meeting. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

“This vote is overwhelming for change and is a substantial vote from the heart of the community,” Ben Frazier of the Northeast Coalition of Jacksonville said. “The superintendent should stop playing games and move forward with changing the name.”

The district will provide further analysis of the votes in the coming days.

This story first appeared on firstcoastnews.com.

Share With:
Rate This Article