19 October, 2017
More than 90 percent of the students at schools named after Obama are black or Hispanic, according to an analysis of Department of Education data by Education Week. Critics of the school names and statues say they are accolades to the region's racist past, while supporters assert they represent history and should be preserved.
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 each class at the school gave presentations on their favorite pick. None were, but the Jackson Schools Board, aware it would likely be disbanded soon for unrelated reasons, as its final act delegated renaming power to three other schools in the system named after confederate leaders.
There are now at least 20 schools across the country that bear the Obama name.
Jefferson said the PTA solicited requests for names during a September 21 meeting.
Instead of being referred to as Davis Magnet IB, the campus will now be known as Barack Obama Magnet IB, or International Baccalaureate. "They are very excited about the school being named for President Obama".
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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.
About 96 percent of students in Jackson Public Schools are African-American.
Davis, a former US senator and secretary of war, served as president of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865.
Last month, the episcopal church that Confederate commander Robert E. Lee attended when he was president of Washington and Lee College in Lexington, Virginia even voted to change its name from the Robert E. Lee Memorial Church back to its original title, the Grace Episcopal Church.
The school name change comes amid a national debate over the removal of Confederate statutes in various cities across the U.S. The issue sparked violent protests that received national attention in August in Charlottesville, Va., and resulted in one death.