The Fairfax County school board has become another recent example of the education system is changing around their history.
As the Washington Post reported, “the school board voted unanimously Thursday to alter the policy that barred officials from changing the names of school buildings unless the building was repurposed. Under the new policy, the board also can change a name ‘where some other compelling need exists.'”
Two high schools are named after Confederate generals, J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee, and a third is named after a past superintendent, W.T. Woodson, who opposed desegregation.
Those who spoke in favor of changing the name believed that the schools, which opened in the late 1950s, were named to tell black students that they were not welcome. Quoted in the Washington Post is neighborhood resident Stephen Spitz, who has litigated school desegregation cases. “Make no mistake; J.E.B. Stuart High School was not named to honor a Confederate general’s role in the Civil War. The school was named as part of Virginia’s massive resistance to school integration.”
Lidia Amanuel, a 17 year senior at Stuart said the name “disgusts her and her classmates.”
Actress Julianne Moore and director Bruce Cohen, who are alumni of Stuart, have started a petition to rename the school after Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, who was born and died in Maryland.