Petition to Rename Confederate-Named Schools in Montgomery Gaining Momentum, What’s Next?
The list of signatures is growing longer, on an online petition to rename all Confederate-named schools in Montgomery.
Monday, more 20,000 people had signed a week-old Change.org petition asking the Montgomery County School Board to the have the names Robert E. Lee High School, Jefferson Davis High School and Sidney Lanier High School.
As District 5 school board member Jannah Bailey is finding out, the efforts to have the three Confederate figures names’ removed from the predominantly black high schools will have to go before a state committee first.
“The local authority, would have to file a waiver with this committee and the committee would then have to vote on it before we could proceed with what our policy and procedure says” explained Bailey, referring to The Committee on Alabama Monument Protection. The group now sets the standards for renaming city and county monuments, streets, schools and more deemed historic under the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.
Governor Kay Ivey signed the act into law in 2017, but the waiver that the MPS board would need to start the renaming process still isn’t available yet. “There’s no rules for the committee and there’s no application”, said Bailey expressing her frustration.
The committee is “in the process of developing (its) guidelines and forms” according to emails between Bailey and Steve Murray, the Director of Alabama Archives and History, responding on behalf of the committee’s chair, Alyce Spruell.
According to Murray, the name change waiver should be available June 14th. The deadline for the waiver to then be submitted back to the committee is August 7th, for the name changes to be considered by the committee at an October 1st meeting.
If the state committee gives its approval to changing the name, The MPS Board could then move forward with its process, including public hearings and meetings regarding the matter.
For some that are already growing impatient with the process, Bailey says an alternative is being offered up from community members. “If you do not go through this process for every name change you do there is a $25,000 dollar fine, and we have already people that have said ‘look if it doesn’t pass this state committee, then we will raise money to pay the fine’ “.
So far, the petition only calls for a name-change and suggests no alternative names.