School board member explains decision to vote against J.E.B. Stuart name change

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following a vote on Monday night, J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School in Richmond’s Northside will change its name to Barack Obama Elementary School. 

The name change is not coming as a surprise to residents who figured this would happen, but some mentioned how quickly the vote went through. 

Only one Richmond School Board member, 3rd District board member Kenya Gibson, voted against the change after asking to defer the vote to another week. 

Gibson says she is proud to have it named after President Obama, but wanted more time and community involvement before coming to a final vote. 

“Really just wanted to make sure we had the time we needed to make that decision reflective of what the community was really feeling,” Gibson told 8News. 

The Richmond School Board shared a J.E.B. Stuart Renaming Process update from the June 18 meeting on its site. 

Three finalists were selected by students to be voted on, with superintendent Jason Kamras recommending the change to Barack Obama Elementary. 

Gibson said the potential name changes were not known until yesterday, another reason for her wanting the vote to be pushed back. 

“They were provided with us on Monday prior to the meeting and also shared with the public as well. But that didn’t really give a lot of time for people to get involved and reach out,” Gibson explained. 

Gibson added that she was surprised that no local leaders from history were included in the potential name change, but shared she is happy that residents are accepting the change and isn’t sure how long the process will take. 

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