ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – After months of debate about renaming Stonewall Jackson Middle School, the Orange County School Board voted to rename the school named after a confederate general during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
“I’m pleased to offer a motion to rename Stonewall Jackson Middle school to become Roberto Clemente Middle School,” School board member Johanna Lopez said.
The board unanimously voted to rename the school Roberto Clemente Middle. The name is in recognition of one of the first Latin American baseball players. The school principal said the prospect to change the predominantly minority school came from a former student.
The suggestion prompted school board member Johanna Lopez to spearhead the change from calls dating back to 2017.
“This is our chance to be on the right side of history and not only celebrating Hispanic heritage, black heritage, but our common American heritage,” School board member Linda Kobert said.
Some of the communities most vocal defenders of the name change weighed in during public comment to rename the school commemorating a confederate general.
“As a Puerto Rican, as a Hispanic American and as a person who believes in humanitarian work that the name Roberto Clemente Walker is being considered.” one speaker said.
Roberto Clemente Middle school was one of the three favored options presented to the board. Diversity Middle School and Seminole Creek Middle School were the two others that were on the table.
“I’m so happy to tell my son that he can probably go to Roberto Clemente Middle School now,” a parent said.
The board unanimously approved the name change.
“We need to celebrate this together, this is history in the making,” Chair Teresa Jacobs said.
The board did not specify when the name change on the building would happen, but signaled it would be an event involving the student body.