Lusher students, supporters want ‘more than a name change’

Updated: Jul. 4, 2020 at 10:33 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Hundreds marched for racial equality, Saturday, calling for Lusher Charter Schools' administrators to have a conversation with students. They chanted for a change to the school's namesake but tell FOX 8 the demands do not end there.

At the elementary school, the youngest of students made it clear they want more than a name change.

Lusher administration says it's considering renaming the school, which now memorializes former Louisiana Education Superintendent and Confederate clerk of court, Robert Mills Lusher.

"Changing the name of a school doesn't change the things that go on inside that school," said recent Lusher graduate Gillian Terrie.

As Lusher's 2020 Spirit Leader, Terrie says she felt a duty to speak up for others and an itch to share her piece. She tells FOX 8, while attending the charter school, she felt scrutiny and pressure to conform.

"Like someone has a hand over you and is holding something over your head, almost. I could even say a diploma," Terrie explained.

Other students say they feel stereotyped.

"I don't want it to be a surprise when the black boy is intelligent," Daniel Porea said.

Rising Senior Daniel Porea marched with his mom, Alnita, who says it hurts to see her son in the same fight she was in nearly 50 years ago, afraid of what sort of daily indignities he'll face at school.

"My son should not have to worry about the color of his skin in order to be educated," said Alnita Porea.

"Our children should be seen. They should be seen by everybody."

Neighbors and community members stood to the side, showing their support, while others joined the march.

By protesting, those involved aim to encourage an open dialogue between students and parents and school leaders. One they hope will lead to greater inclusivity.

"It is ensuring a future of peace and being embraced for who you are, including your race," Daniel said.

FOX 8 reached out to the Orleans Parish School Board in regards to the protest. A spokesperson cited school board president Ethan Ashley’s recent statement.

“We want our schools to be welcoming, inclusive, and inspiring environments for our students each day,” Ashley said in the statement. “A key part of that is ensuring that the names of our schools and the people that we honor through naming are reflective of the values of our district.”

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