Hampton organizations push to rename schools with Confederate names

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton School Board says they’ve received two requests to rename two campuses in their district.

School Board Chair Jason Samuels say the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) chapters both sent in requests.

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SCLC Peninsula President Andrew Shannon is hoping to get Jefferson Davis Middle School and The Campus at Lee renamed.

“Pain, hurt, division, racial hatred and bigotry — That’s what comes to  mind and that’s what comes to many others minds that have been shared with me but not only now, but when we started this process in 2016,” Shannon said.

Shannon says he sent in a similar request last year and is renewing the push because the organization promotes love and unity, something he thinks the names do not represent.

“We are here to build bridges and the way we can build bridges is to remove the names,” he said.

Shannon believes many will be on board this time for the name changes.

Last year, the school board unanimously voted to not create a panel to explore new names, according to Samuels. He says the council voted that way because the majority of people who attended their public forms were against changes.

If there are any changes in the future, Samuels says it’s because that’s what citizens want.

“We serve at the will of the community. If the will of the community is to change the name or not change the name, we will adhere to their requests,” he says.

Samuels says the requests will be discussed at the next board meeting in September.

Shannon believes more people will be open to the idea this time.