Florida board renames schools honoring Confederate leaders

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida school board has voted to rename six schools named for Confederate leaders, but will keep three others named for a French colonizer and a U.S. president who supported slavery and forced Native Americans to move west along the Trail of Tears.

Following a months-long debate, the Duval County School Board decided on the names Tuesday night, news outlets reported.

The result: Joseph Finegan Elementary will become Anchor Academy; Stonewall Jackson Elementary will be Hidden Oaks Elementary School; Jefferson Davis Middle will become Charger Academy; Kirby-Smith Middle will be named Springfield Middle School; J.E.B. Stuart Middle will be Westside Middle School and Robert E. Lee High will become Riverside High School.

Three Jacksonville-area schools will keep their names: Jean Ribault Middle and High School and Andrew Jackson High School.

Some school board members wanted to nix the name of the 7th president, but their amendment failed.

The changes won’t come quickly, since the school’s signs and uniforms have to be updated.

“It is a challenge,” Superintendent Diana Greene told FirstCoast News. “You think you know what is going to happen. You think you know how you are going to feel, but then when it happens, a flood of emotions came over me.”

Greene said no sales tax funding will be used in the renaming process. She said the Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to provide $200,000 to cover the costs of home uniforms for secondary schools.

Memorabilia and marquees in the schools will be saved, Greene said. The district will work with alumni to determine where to keep the items.

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