The decision to rename the school in Jackson, Mississippi comes as areas in the South engage in heated debates over tributes to Confederate leaders. Well, the students at Jefferson Davis Magnet School in MS know what that's like. "They could relate to Barack Obama because of his achievements, because he looks like them", Jefferson said.
Jefferson Davis School will be renamed to Barack Obama Elementary by the 2018-2019 school year.
A MS elementary school named after the president of the Confederacy will be renamed to honor the first black president of the United States. The school board, facing an impending takeover by the state over audits that found safety problems and other issues at schools, had earlier authorized PTA groups at three schools named after Confederate leaders to pick new names if they wished, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
The Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees had approved a policy that permitted the PTA and Davis community with the control to rename the school.
Students from every class researched and gave presentations about their candidates at an assembly before the vote, Jefferson said.
The push to rename the school became urgent after the state Board of Education requested Gov. Phil Bryant to declare a state of emergency for JPS in September 2017.
It's unknown how expensive the name change will be, she said.
About 96 percent of students in Jackson Public Schools are African-American.
About 20 schools across the United States are named for Obama, the nation's first black president, according to Education Week. The students, parents and teachers believe the new name is more fitting for the predominantly black school.
"Our parents are movers and shakers, so I know that we can rise to the occasion to raise those funds to make sure we can implement the name change", she said.
The prospect of changing the name of what Jefferson called the best elementary school in MS was raised by a student, she told NBC News.
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