Virginia School Board Votes To Restore Names Of Confederate Generals For Two Schools

In 2020, two schools in Virginia had the names of Confederate generals removed from their titles. On May 10, an education board voted to restore those names for those schools.

According to CNN, school board members in Virginia’s Shenandoah County decided in a 5-1 vote to restore the names of two schools that previously commemorated Confederate leaders. The move happened after a meeting on May 9 between people with opposing views.

The Shenandoah County School Board has renamed Stonewall Jackson High School, originally named after Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Ashby Lee Elementary School, named for Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby, to Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School, respectively. The renaming was done to condemn racism and affirm the district’s “commitment to an inclusive school environment,” according to school board documents.

The racial makeup for Shenandoah County Public Schools, which serves more than 5,600 students, is about 75% white, 18% Hispanic, and 3% Black.

In a meeting last month, the six current board members, none of whom were on the board in 2020, had an issue with the name change from 2020. They stated that the renaming “wrongly done” was rushed and lacked public input. Board member Gloria E. Carlineo claimed it also “eroded” confidence in the school board.

“So, for me, the main consideration is whether we, as a democratic nation of laws, will choose to ignore a decision made by a governmental body that exploited the tragedy of COVID or will rectify a wrongful action that has deeply divided our community. I choose the latter,” Carlineo told CNN before the vote was taken.

Sarah Kohrs, a mother of two students, and other parents and residents did not agree to restore the names and were frustrated it was being considered.

“It’s very frustrating to know that here we are four years after that, and we still have a small portion of the community that just refuses to move on,” Kohrs told CNN.

She said attention should be focused on what students want and need to succeed, like repairing leaking roofs, a sound system for track meets, or having enough varsity letters with the current school names.

With the restoration of the names, there is an estimated cost that it would be more than $304,000, according to district documents.

Kohrs prefers that those funds be used for more important matters for the students, like repairing leaking roofs, and a sound system for track meets.

“We still don’t even have all of our athletic equipment from the name change in 2020. We’re still utilizing old hurdles, sometimes that have the name of Stonewall on them,” Kohrs told CNN.

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