Renaming options set for Jacksonville school named after Confederate General

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kirby-Smith Middle School, one of nine Duval County schools under consideration for name changes, finalized a list of possible renaming options on Monday night.

Kirby-Smith’s School Advisory Council (SAC) selected the following names to appear on the ballot to be voted on by the school’s stakeholders in the coming weeks:

  • Springfield Middle School
  • Springfield STEAM Academy
  • Springfield M.S. for STEAM and Advanced Studies
  • Discovery Middle School
  • Kirby-Smith Middle School

The school is described as “a dedicated magnet school for math, science, and technology.”

Kirby-Smith’s community balloting will take place at the school from March 15 to March 29.

DCPS stated the school’s students, staff members, parents of the PTA, alumni, and residents who live within the school’s attendance zone, will be able to cast ballots.

SAC will vote separately April 5.

The middle school is named after Confederate General Edmund Kirby-Smith, who was born in St. Augustine.

While some say keep the name, others are calling for change.

“I think the school names should stay the same because of the fact that all the people that have gone to these schools, it’s part of their history, part of their growing up, part of their education,” said Kirby-Smith grandparent Greg White.

“I think they should change because they are named after Confederate people. So in that sense, they should change,” said Kirby-Smith parent, Michael McCoy.

Kirby-Smith Middle is one of six schools on the possible renaming list named after Confederate officers.

Teacher and Northside Coalition activist, Rochelle Smith, said she was raised by a Ku Klux Klan member.

Smith shared her thoughts on the names tied to the Confederacy.

“Modern white supremacists absolutely delight in the fact,” Smith said. “They see it as a victory.”

White said the name belongs where it is.

“Basically, a lot of the names belong to history. And if we get rid of our history, we’re getting rid of our past,” White said.

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