Duval County schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti, in a recent interview with StateImpact Florida, said he’d support changing the name of a high school honoring Nathan B. Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
“I would support a name change recommendation if brought organically to the board by the community,” Vitti said
The Florida Times-Union reports that community members are also open — if unenthusiastic — to revisiting an issue which has simmered for years. The Duval school board last took up the issue in 2008, voting 5-2 not to rename Nathan B. Forrest High School.
From the story:
School Board member Connie Hall, whose district represents Forrest, said she will let the public spearhead a school name change and “is ready and available” to help the school’s advisory council.
Changing the school’s name is a volatile subject, Lee said. And even if the advisory council passed a new name, it could take some time before the board votes, Lee said, because Hall might host community meetings for further comments.
Hall said she hasn’t heard an outcry about changing the school’s name. However, when someone mentions Forrest, there’s always an off-hand comment about changing the name.
One potential new name would honor Michael Scott Speicher, a Navy pilot and Forrest graduate who was the first casualty of the Gulf War.
However, the school advisory committee’s outgoing chairman thinks the money spent to change signs, stationery and other items would be better used on teachers, books or other classroom supplies.