School board to decide whether North Bay school name 'Dixie' should be changed
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KTVU) - After months of contentious back and forth, the Dixie School District Board of Trustees will vote Tuesday whether or not the Dixie School District will get a new name.
There are people who are very passionate on both sides of the debate.
ChangeTheName.net is a website started in support of the name change. Noah Griffin, co-founder of the site, said the word “Dixie” is racist and a symbol of slavery.
He said nearly 2,000 people submitted their names to the website in support of the change. If the board votes to change the district’s name, Griffin said the Marin Community Foundation will pay to update signs, buses and logos.
This isn’t the first time this effort has been made. People have pushed for this three times in the past 22 years. Before this time around, Griffin was behind the last two efforts.
“‘Dixie’ is emblematic of slavery of what went on during the Civil war we cannot escape that history. What we need to do is put it in a museum, keep the old Dixie school have a plaque saying why it was named, why the name has changed for the district itself so it’s an educational moment, a teachable moment for students and for the community,” said Griffin.
There’s also a website against the chance called WeAreDixie.org.
Group representative Mercy Chiu said the issue should be put on an advisory ballot in 2020 where the community can privately vote without worrying about external pressure.
There are about 1,350 members of that group who want the name of the district to stay the same according to Chiu.
She called the district excellent, but wants the choice to be left to the community for an official vote not allow the board to make the final ruling.
Chiu argues there’s no proof the name of the district has confederate ties.
“I believe people are entitled to what they believe racism is. As a minority, I have my views and I believe others have theirs and for us to not have polite dialogue right now is sad because it takes away from racism and the conversations around what racism should be,” said Mercy Chiu with WeAreDixie.org.
The board meeting is Tuesday at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael. Doors open to the public at 4:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.