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2 schools in Virgnia are reverting to Confederate names

May 10, 2024
Four years after Confederacy-linked names were removed from two schools, the Shenandoah County board has voted to reinstate the old names.

Four years after it removed Confederacy-linked names from its schools, the Shenandoah County (Virginia) school board has voted to restore the names of military leaders from the Confederacy to two public schools.

NBC News reports that the 5-1 vote reverses a 2020 decision that changed the names of schools linked to Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby, three men who led the pro-slavery Southern states during the Civil War. 

Mountain View High School will go back to the name Stonewall Jackson High School. Honey Run Elementary School will go back to the name Ashby-Lee Elementary School. Both schools are Quicksburg.

The board renamed the schools in 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, fueling a national racial reckoning. The calls for racial justice and equity prompted a number of communities across the nation to remove Confederate symbolism and statues of Confederate generals.

But in Shenandoah County, the Coalition for Better Schools petitioned the school board to reinstate the names of Jackson, Lee and Ashby. “We believe that revisiting this decision is essential to honor our community’s heritage and respect the wishes of the majority,” the coalition wrote.

Board members serving now say the 2020 board's decision was made hastily and without appropriate community input. 

About 80 people spoke at the board meeing before the vote, and more than 50 opposed restoring the old names.

In the wake of Floyd’s murder and protests against racism, at least 160 public Confederate symbols were taken down or moved from public places in 2020, according to a tally from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

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