A black public school in Mississippi named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis will have its namesake stripped next year and replaced with the name of another president students say is more fitting.
The school will be called the Barack Obama Magnet IB.
David Magnet IB PTA President Janelle Jefferson announced that the stakeholders voted for the name change during their Oct. 5 meeting.
“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” she told the board, the Clarion-Ledger is reporting.
98 percent of the school’s students are black.
The name change is meant “to reflect a person who fully represents the ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”
Jefferson said that the school community wanted to rename the campus “to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”
Board President Camille Simms “wholeheartedly” agreed with the name and the announcement – according to the newspaper – “brought a jovial mood to the room.”
Attendees were aware of the possibility that Tuesday’s board meeting could be the last for the district in the long time. The state Board of Education requested in September for Gov. Phil Bryant to declare JPS in a state of emergency. That move would trigger a state takeover.
Bryant is expected to make a decision this week on whether to approve the board’s resolution. His signature would result in the disbandment of the school board.
Given that they may never have a chance to meet again, that spurred the board to delegate naming authority to PTA groups at three schools they oversee that are all named after Confederate leaders; Davis Magnet, George Elementary, and Lee Elementary.
At the time, the board’s lawyer questioned whether or not it was legal for the board to abdicate their naming responsibility, but later confirmed the name change would take place for the 2018-2019 school year.
There are still logistics to work out, and Jefferson said the school and other partners, such as corporate sponsors, are expected to raise costs for the actual name change.
Updates on renaming efforts for George Elementary and Lee Elementary were not immediately available.
The name change comes amid an intense debate over the removal of Confederate statues in various cities across the country. Some cities have decided to take down Confederate statues in their towns.
The issue was at the center of protests that took place earlier this year in Charlottesville, Va.
Renaming a school from one controversial president to another? Is it that simple? What do you think?
President Jefferson Davis was president of the short-lived Confederate States of America (CSA), which fought to preserve the institution of slavery, while President Barack Hussein Obama was possibly the single worst president the United States ever had.
Which is worse? Let us know and sound off below!