Emotional debate Wednesday on whether to rename Andrew Jackson High School

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An emotional debate unfolded Wednesday night about whether Andrew Jackson High School should be renamed.

Some who spoke at the meeting argued the name should stay the same.

“He’s a national hero, and they’re trying to slap him in the face!” said Jackson alumnus Lester Girard.

Many discussed Jackson’s legacy of owning slaves and signing “The Indian Removal Act,” later known as “The Trail of Tears.”

“Andrew Jackson loved and supported slavery. He supported and directed violence against Native Americans,” said Northside Coalition leader, Ben Frazier.

MORE STORIES ON RENAMING SCHOOLS: How to vote in the DCPS school’s renaming process | Possible name change of Robert E Lee High School sparking debate Monday night | Community attends 1st set of discussions to rename 9 DCPS schools | Renaming options set for Jacksonville school named after Confederate General | Group pushes back on Duval County Public School name change proposal | Duval County School Board votes unanimously to request to initiate renaming schools with Confederate ties

Andrew Jackson High School is one of nine schools under consideration for a name change, and one of three deemed insensitive to Indigenous people.

DCPS stated it will cost about $1.9 million to rename all nine schools.

The district estimated average costs of about $287,000 to rename secondary schools like Jackson.

Wednesday’s meeting was the last before a school council meets April 13 to choose naming options that will appear on the ballot.

“Andrew Jackson was a slave owner. His reputation of how he dealt with the Indians is horrendous,” said attendee Thom McGuire.

“They don’t know that they’re changing a national monument, and it’s going to come right back and haunt them,” said Girard.

To view DCPS’s timeline on renaming schools, click here.