Local

Should Stonewall Jackson Middle School be renamed? Survey says...

ORLANDO, Fla. — Stonewall Jackson Middle School Principal Jhunu Mohapatra in January commissioned a survey about whether the Orlando school, which is named after a Confederate general, should be renamed.

The survey was distributed to parents, students, employees, volunteers and those associated with five feeder schools -- Chickasaw, Dover Shores, Englewood, McCoy and Ventura elementary schools.

More than 2,000 people responded to the survey, the results of which were mixed.

When asked if the school should be renamed, about 47 percent of those who responded to the question said yes, about 44 percent said no and about 10 percent said they don't have an opinion.

When asked if they would prefer the school be renamed Jackson Middle School or some other name, about 46 percent of those who responded to the question said they would prefer Jackson Middle School and about 54 percent percent said they would prefer some other name.

The school's website and at least one of its signs have already dropped "Stonewall" from the school's name.

The survey asked respondents for an explanation of their answers and recommendations for a new school name.

"We could be referring to Michael Jackson," said one person who completed the survey.

Others called Jackson a traitor and said school names shouldn't memorialize Confederate soldiers.

Read: Florida close to replacing Confederate statue in U.S. Capitol

Yet others said they're tired of having their history erased for the sake of political correctness and that society is doomed to repeat things if people change everything that reminds them of that history.

In the survey's open response section, some suggested renaming the school to Azalea Park Middle School or Engelwood Park Middle School because of its location.

Others suggested renaming it to Champion Middle School, Sparkle Middle School or Clayton Middle School, after slain Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.

"I think it should stay the same, because, like, when kids come to school, they don't really pay attention to the name," sixth-grader Melany Gozman said.

"I think they should keep their name," parent Marina Ortiz said of the school, which was built in 1964. "I mean, it's been like that for a while, so why change it now?"

Orange County school board members voted last year to rename Robert E. Lee Middle School to College Park Middle School. They'll also decide the fate of Stonewall Jackson Middle School's name.