Report: Mississippi school honoring Jefferson Davis to be renamed after Barack Obama
JACKSON, MS - A public school in Mississippi will soon be stripped of its Confederate namesake and named after another president who parents, students and teachers say is more fitting for the school, Barack Obama.
According to a report from the Clarion Ledger, the decision to change the name of Davis Magnet IB, a predominantly black school, comes after a vote by school stakeholders on Oct. 5. School President Janelle Jefferson announced the new name, Barack Obama Magnet IB, at the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.
“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,” she told the board.
A demographic breakdown of Davis Magnet’s enrollment for the 2017 school lists 98 percent of the school’s students as black.
Overall, JPS’ enrollment is 97 percent black.
Jefferson said the school 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.”
“I wholeheartedly agree with the name,” said Board President Camille Simms.
Attendees were aware of the possibility that Tuesday’s board meeting could be the last for the district in the long time. The state Board of Education requested in September for Gov. Phil Bryant to declare JPS in a state of emergency. That move would trigger a state takeover.
Bryant is expected to make a decision this week on whether to approve the board’s resolution.
His signature would result in the disbandment of the school board.
The possibility of being unable to meet again pushed board members at their Sept. 19 meeting to delegate their naming authority to PTA groups at three schools —Davis Magnet, George Elementary and Lee Elementary, named after Confederate leaders.
At the time, the board’s attorney Dorian Turner advised that it was unclear whether the board had the authority to abdicate its responsibility.
On Tuesday, she confirmed, however, that the name change would be able to take place for the 2018-19 school year.
You can read the full report from the Clarion Ledger by clicking HERE.