JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – WJXT is reporting demonstrators gathered outside the Southbank headquarters of Duval County Public Schools Wednesday evening as the school board considers whether to rebrand nine schools with controversial names.
The final decision on school name changes recommended by the superintendent is expected at the board meeting on Tuesday, but supporters and opponents of the measure weren’t waiting to make their voices heard.
Opponents to the name changes posted about a dozen confederate flags on Duval Schools’ property as people gathered. Others brought megaphones, promising to sing “Dixie” when the other side begins speaking.
Meanwhile, groups like The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, 904ward, Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, The EVAC Movement and others had microphones and speakers ready to call for change.
Like other recent demonstrations, there were two designated areas, one for each demonstration. But a group of name-change opponents tried to leave their designated protest area. They told the volunteer peacekeepers, “you have no authority here.” The men were quickly ushed back inside their zone by Duval Schools Police.
Superintendent Diana Greene Tuesday released her recommendations, marking the next to last step in the district’s name change process.
Her recommendations to rename six of the nine schools under consideration were made public the week after the votes of stakeholders in those schools were counted.