The Fairfax County (Va.) school board has voted to rename a high school that has for 59 years been named for a Confederate general.
WJLA-TV reports that the board decided to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, but has not determined what the new name will be.
The school was named in 1958 for Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart; A petition to rename the school was started in 2015 on change.org by actress Julianne Moore and Hollywood producer Bruce Cohen. The petition has garnered about 35,000 signatures.
The school board says the new name will reflect the county's diversity and values, and the change is to take place no later than the start of the 2019 school year.
Advocates for the name change had argued that students of color should not have to attend a school named for a person who was a slaveholder and a member of the Confederacy.
The Washington Post reports that the high school is one of the most diverse in the district, with more than 78 percent of the school’s 2,130 students being either Hispanic, black, Asian or multiracial; 22 percent of the student body is white.
Those who wanted the school’s name to remain asserted that changing the name is an “attack on Southern heritage.”
The school board asked the community to consider shortening the name simply to Stuart High School, but they will consider other names as well.
District officials say it will cost nearly $700,000 to change the name of the school on signs, scoreboards and uniforms. The district will begin looking for private funding to offset those costs.