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Forrest to become Westside High School

Forrest High School will be renamed Westside High School as of July 1 after a unanimous vote tonight by the Duval County School Board.

The school, which is named after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, has caused significant controversy over the years. In July, local resident Omotayo Richmond started a  petition to have the name of the school changed, which accumulated more than 150,000 signatures and garnered significant media attention.

In December, after a review process by the Superintendent, the school board voted unanimously to rename the school, but left time over the holidays to poll students, alumni and community members.

The name Westside High School was selected by these groups over others, including Firestone High School. When the school was first opened in 1959, the name Valhalla High School was preferred by students, but the school board at the time agreed to a petition by the Daughters of the Confederacy to name the school after Forrest.

The change is expected to cost the district about $400,000, primarily to replace the school's marquee, gymnasium floor and athletic uniforms. A new mascot has not yet been selected.

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Trey Csar