The following was read to the Alachua County School Board in June, 2020:
Good evening Chairman Roy, School Board members, and Superintendent Clarke. My name is Mary Benedict, I am the new president of the Alachua County Council of PTA’s.
I am here tonight to express ACCPTA’s wholehearted support for the renaming of J.J. Finley Elementary School. In doing this, we join the many voices in our community in calling for this long overdue change. We believe the school’s current name is out of line with the character and values of our community.
Further, ACCPTA supports the proposed renaming process and stands behind the inclusion of many community voices. We appreciate that each of the five board members will choose a committee member, thereby providing voices from the wider community. This is consistent with National PTA’s position on shared responsibility in educational decision making, urging school boards to cooperate with members of the school and larger communities in the development of school policies.
Going forward, ACCPTA calls for a more robust naming policy for schools. The district must examine and insure that all school names in our district are consistent with the character and values of the communities they serve.
The mission of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. Thank you for your attention this evening.