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JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi school that was named after a Confederate president is to be renamed next year after former U.S. President Barack Obama after an Oct. 5 vote by the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees.
Davis IB Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi, has operated for years under the namesake of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. But by the time the 2018-2019 academic year rolls around, the school will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet IB Elementary School.
The decision was announced Tuesday after months of discussion. Parents of students who attend the school, including PTA President Janelle Jefferson, expressed excitement and approval, saying the new name is more appropriate for the school, which has a population of 97 percent black students.
“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,” Jefferson said, according to The Clarion Ledger.
Jefferson said the new name reflects “a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”
The decision came soon after the Mississippi State Board of Education requested Gov. Phil Bryant declare Jackson Public Schools in a state of emergency for lack of certified teachers and proper procedures, among other issues, Newsweek reported. If Bryant approves the request, the school board will be disbanded, according to The Clarion Ledger.
The potential for the disbandment led board members to encourage PTA members at three schools in the Jackson Public Schools system to consider renaming at a hastened pace.
There’s no word on the renaming developments of two other schools in the county: George Elementary, named after Confederate Gen. James Zachariah George, and Lee Elementary, named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
As of January, at least 19 U.S. schools had been named after Obama, according to Education Week.