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Posted: July 12, 2016

DeKalb school named for John Lewis; debate sparks racism allegations

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            DeKalb school named for John Lewis; debate sparks racism allegations
DeKalb County School District school board members participate in a work session. (AJC FILE PHOTO)

By Marlon A. Walker

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When DeKalb County school board member Stan Jester questioned the procedure for naming a school after U.S. Rep. John Lewis, another board member suggested his questions may be racially motivated.

“If this was a white man’s name going on this building, would it be a problem?” asked Joyce Morley. “No.”

Morley said she asked some of the same questions Jester did, but came back confident that the due diligence was proper.

Jester said policy required three meetings for naming the school, though only two were held. He also mentioned that the district policy on naming anything for someone says a person should be deceased five years before it can happen.

Member Vickie Turner noted Jester supported renaming a gymnasium in his own district for an educator who passed away last year, which was against the district’s naming policy. It struck her odd that he had an issue with shirking the policy now.

Jester said race had nothing to do with his decision.

“I’m disappointed and somewhat offended,” Jester said. “This is not about race, it’s local control.”

The board voted 6-1 to name the school after Lewis. It also voted unanimously to approve naming a school for President Barack Obama.


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