JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Supporters and opponents of the renaming of nine Duval County Public Schools properties staged opposing demonstrations Tuesday outside the school district’s administrative headquarters, about 90 minutes before a scheduled meeting of the school board.
The stated goal of these weekly demonstrations is to lobby the board into renaming Robert E. Lee High School, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, and other schools named after controversial historical figures.
Two men who oppose the renamings also showed up and were separated by the pro-name-change crowd by a series of orange traffic cones. “Peacekeepers” were on hand to de-escalate any contention.
After tense exchanges between demonstrators last month, the @DuvalSchools PD opted to set separate zones for people calling for -- and against -- the rebranding of nine schools with controversial names. Orange cones mark the dividing line. #News4Jax @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/OfbaCNjKRz— Joe McLean (@JoeMcLeanNews) May 4, 2021
The demonstrations come amid the final week of community balloting for four of the nine schools, after which the votes will be tabulated, the results given to the superintendent, and the superintendent will make a recommendation to the school board.
The school board is poised to make a final decision on the renaming of each school during the regular board meeting in June.
That June board meeting has yet to be officially scheduled, but such meetings usually fall on the first Tuesday of the given month. Therefore, the board meeting is likely to be scheduled for June 1.
District leaders have said the extended renaming process was designed to allow as much community input as possible and launched a website to let citizens keep track of the process.