Jacksonville, FL. — The final community meeting on whether to rename Robert E. Lee High School was held Thursday night at the school.
Dozens of people packed the school’s auditorium to voice their opinions.
“Shouldn’t a quality education count more than a name that’s suddenly bothers a few rebel rousers, or a hand full of teenagers?” said one speaker.
Others called for change, saying his legacy represents racism and white supremacy.
“The student body is made up of mostly people of color, yet this building stands as a monument for a racist, sexist, Confederate military leader, who owned slaves,” said a student.
Before the meeting, groups including the Northside Coalition, and Take ‘em Down Jax, demonstrated across the street from Lee.
Lee is one of nine schools being considered for a name change, and one of six on the list named after confederate leaders.
Speakers recommended names like ‘Riverside High,’ and others.
“My first thought was Willow Branch High,” said a speaker.
Tensions rose at Lee throughout the week, after teacher Amy Donofrio refused to take down a Black Lives Matter sign Tuesday.
It was subsequently removed by the administration.
Thursday, DCPS announced Donofrio had been reassigned, and removed from the classroom, amid a Human Resources investigation.
After days of controversy at the school, stakeholders made their final plea for what it should be called in the future.
“Why should the name be changed? Because it’s offensive? If this was a real issue, would it stop here?” said one speaker.
“Do you all not like understand that he fought for like the same African American students that have to come to this school every day, he fought to make sure that they would be in slavery?” said a student.
On April 5th a school council will finalize a list of names to appear on the ballot. Robert E. Lee High School will be included on the ballot.
Cox Media Group