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Black Police Officers Association Joins Calls To Rename San Diego Elementary School

Black Police Officers Association Join Calls To Rename San Diego Elementary School

Photo caption:

Photo by Matthew Bowler

A sign outside Robert E. Lee Elementary School is pictured, June 22, 2015.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Black Police Officers Association

This undated photo shows San Diego Police officer Archie Buggs, who was shot and killed while on duty in 1978.

Some San Diego police officers are joining calls to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Paradise Hills.

The school was named after a Confederate general. Demands to rename it follow a national trend against Confederate symbols, after last month's mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Nine people were killed, and suspect Dylann Roof has been pictured holding the Confederate flag.

The Black Police Officers Association and the San Diego Police Officers Association want to rename the school for the late Archie Buggs, a San Diego police officer who grew up in Paradise Hills. He was shot and killed in 1978.

"(Buggs) lived in this community and unfortunately he was killed in this community while serving the people of Southeastern San Diego," said Sgt. Arthur Scott, vice president of the SDBPOA. "Officer Buggs was a role model. He inspired a lot of young African Americans growing up in this community to get involved in law enforcement."

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, has also been vocal about renaming the school.

But symbols of Confederacy deserve a larger conversation, said Aaron Bruce, chief diversity officer for San Diego State University.

"I think it's important to look at symbols holistically in our country and what it means historically," Bruce said. "And as people change, their representation of symbols changes and the meaning of them changes."

KPBS producer Hoa Quach contributed to this report.


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