SAN DIEGO, Calif. – School across the country are reacting to a recent racially motivated church shooting in South Carolina by distancing themselves from the Old South.
Police believe 21-year-old Dylann Roof attended a bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston June 17 before opening fire on a dozen people, killing a total of nine black men and women, and injuring one other, The Washington Post reports.
“Federal law enforcement officials said Roof, who is white, declared his hatred for black people before opening fire, and the U.S. Justice Department has said it is investigating the attack as a hate crime,” according to the Post.
Leading up to the attack, Roof posted pictures to social media of himself burning the American flag and holding a confederate flag – in one image also posing with a handgun, CNN reports.
In the wake of the deadliest racially motivated shooting in U.S. history, schools across the country are now attempting to do away with their connection to the confederacy, most recently in San Diego.
Tuesday, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez called on officials in the San Diego Unified School District to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary in response to the attack, Fox 5 reports.
“The flag in particular, and anyone associated with this army, in general, have been associated with intolerance, racism and hate, none of which have a place in our schools,” Gonzalez wrote in a letter to SDUSD Superintendent City Marten.
“It is also important to note that the area in which the elementary school is located is truly representative of South San Diego – a vibrant, multi-ethnic community with a strong African-American presence that deserves a school named after someone we can all admire.
“Robert E. Lee is not that person.”
District officials did not respond to Fox 5’s request for comment, but instead issued a bland statement.
“We are sensitive to the concerns voiced by some members of the community that it may not be appropriate to have a school named after Robert E. Lee. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to have a larger community dialogue with students, staff and families about the school name and look at the history and research surrounding Lee in order to make a collectively informed decision about changing the name or retaining it,” the statement read.