PLANTATION, Fla. – The Broward County School Board is discussing the possible changing of five Plantation schools’ names, not due to a racist history, but rather due to racial connotation associated with the word “plantation” and its connection to slavery.
“It continues to hurt people that look like me, people that are immigrants to this country, people that are a part of the family’s LGBTQ community. Racism is alive and well,” School Board Member Dr. Rosalind Osgood said.
The discussion of renaming the five Broward public schools containing the city name “Plantation” was brought up by Osgood.
Tuesday morning’s meeting was open to public comment over possible changes.
The discussion comes amid nationwide conversations surrounding race, sparked by protests against the killing of George Floyd.
“If these people are feeling hurt, if people are feeling that it’s a reminder of something that we would no longer like to remember, then I think that I would like to, as briefly as possible, tell you to please listen,” one commenter, Terry Lopez Preuss, said.
Commenters spoke both for and against name changes.
One commenter spotlighted the city of Plantation’s history and that the name plantation comes from the Everglades Plantation Company, which drained the area where the city now stands for farmland, and that the area was not affiliated with slavery or slave plantations.
“We love our city, we like the name, and I’m here today to ask for us to take a breath (and) not make any rash decisions as far as the city of Plantation names go,” Aston Bright said.
The school names in question include Plantation High, South Plantation High, Plantation Middle, Plantation Elementary and Plantation Park Elementary. Osgood suggested the board change its school naming guidelines moving forward to exclude names with racial connotations.
Current guidelines already prohibit naming schools after cities, but the five Plantation schools were named prior to the issuance of that guideline.
Name changing potential will be discussed in a future workshop.
So far, school board members agreed that there should be a task force to discuss renaming of schools, but whether that take place at the county level or within individual school communities is still up for debate.