School Is Renamed In Honor Of Barack Obama - Opposing Views

School Is Renamed In Honor Of Barack Obama

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A public school in Mississippi named after the leader of the Confederacy is being renamed in honor of former President Barack Obama.

Previously, Davis Magnet IB Elementary was named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis, according to The Clarion-Ledger. On Oct. 5 school stakeholders voted to rename the school after a president they thought would be more fitting.

"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," said Parent Teacher Association President Janelle Jefferson.

Demographic data shows that 98 percent of the school's students are black. Given the racial makeup of the student body, as well as the history associated with Jackson's name, Jefferson said it was time for a change.

She and the rest of the school community settled on honoring Obama because they want the school "to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves."

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Before the vote, students, parents and staff were able to present their ideas for new names, according to CBS News. During a school assembly, elementary school students and teachers were able to vote on their favorite. Parents could vote on campus or through an absentee ballot.

"We wanted to be very inclusive and transparent in the process to be fair, to make sure everybody felt like they had a voice," said Jefferson.

Most students were born during the eight years Obama was in office and the former president overwhelmingly won the vote.

"The students had overwhelming support for President Obama," said Jefferson. "The community wanted to rename the campus to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves."

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The magnet school is the top academic performer of all elementary and middle schools in the state for the 2016-17 school year. The school's curriculum is extremely rigorous and the admissions process is based on testing.

According to Jefferson, the PTA will now have to undertake "some very aggressive fundraising campaigns" to pay for a new sign as well as stationery and other items that bore the original name.

The name change is set to take place for the 2018-2019 school year, according to The Clarion-Ledger. Two other schools in the district --  George Elementary and Lee Elementary -- are also named after Confederate leaders and it is unclear whether there are efforts to rename them as well.

Sources: The Clarion-Ledger, CBS News / Featured Image: U.S. Embassy London/Flickr / Embedded Images: Google Maps via WLBT, U.S. Department of Commerce/Flickr

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