JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Protesters in favor of changing the names of Duval County Public Schools named for Confederate figures interrupted a joint meeting between Jacksonville's city council and the school board Friday morning.
"Stop playing games and change the name!" they shouted from the back of the room as council proceedings were taking place.
"You're not helping yourselves," a dissenter could be heard responding to the protesters in the background of the video.
The demonstrators were escorted out by security, and the council and school board took a recess.
“The event today was not an impromptu event," said Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition. "It was a well-planned protest of civil disobedience spearheaded by the Northside Coalition."
Organizers said its purpose was to draw attention to the fight to change the names of public schools named to honor confederates.”
The outburst at the meeting followed a Northside Coalition of Jacksonville news conference ahead of the meeting. The organization said other local, state and national organizations have now endorsed the local effort to change the names of schools in Duval County that honor Confederate leaders.
The schools in question include Robert E. Lee High School, Ribault, J.E.B Stuart Middle, Joseph Finegan Elementary, Kirby-Smith Middle and Stonewall Jackson Elementary.
Polling was completed in March to assess what the community would want to name those schools instead.
The proposed names for Ribault High School are:
- Northside High School
- Northwest High School
- Jean Ribault High School
The proposed names for Lee High School are:
- Avondale High School
- Riverside High School
- School No. 33
- Legacy High School
- Robert E. Lee High School
The original names for the schools are always listed on the ballot whenever there is a vote to change the name of a school, according to the district.
There are several groups who will be allowed to vote for a school's name, including:
- Current students
- Residents in the school's attendance zone
- PTA and SCA members
Community balloting is expected to start for both Lee and Ribault high schools in late April.