School to change name in honor of 1st African-American female principal in NYC

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PROSPECT HEIGHTS -

An elementary school in Prospect Heights is changing its name to honor Sarah Smith Garnet, the first African-American female school principal in New York City.

P.S. 9 Teunis G Bergen is currently named after a Brooklyn politician in the 1800s who was a slave owner. Parents say the current name sends a bad message.

For the past year, parents have discussed changing the name and students got involved. Ninety-three fifth-graders signed a petition for the name change.

The new name was decided by a vote. The Department of Education is backing the decision calling Garnet, "a trail-blazing leader who changed our schools and city."

The school's principal says it is an empowering move for the school, where 40% of the students are black.

"It's important for our children to understand that everyone has a voice and no matter your race, your religion, no matter who you are, you do have a voice and your voice counts," says principal Sandra D'Avilar.

D'Avilar says she hopes to have the new name up by the start of the upcoming school year.

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