More than 72,000 people have signed an online petition to change the name of a Jacksonville high school named after a Civil War general and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Duval County schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti told StateImpact Florida earlier this year that he would support changing the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School school if the community pushed for it. Previous efforts to change the school’s name were unsuccessful.
Jacksonville resident Omotayo Richmond told the paper that he’s not an activist, but wants people to be proud of the school they attend. He turned to Change.org for help with his petition:
Richmond said he started his petition on Change.org at the start of August and it already has gathered more than 71,000 signatures. Some signatures come from Jacksonville residents, but most come from all over the nation.
On top of Change.org, Richmond has gained traction on Twitter in part because the phrase “KKK High School” accompanies most tweets about his petition. He said the KKK High School phrase was the Change.org staff’s brainchild.
He said he hopes to gain 250,000 signatures.
A school board member said she has noticed the petition, but that won’t necessarily encourage the board to change the school’s name.
You can read the petition here.