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School board to to vote on removing confederate affiliated names from county schools

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:43 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — On Thursday, the Shenandoah County School Board will meet virtually, with one item on the agenda involving the possibility of renaming two schools’ names in the county with Confederate ties.

Mark Johnston, division superintendent, said this is a continuation of a resolution passed last month by the board condemning racism and affirming the division’s commitment to an inclusive school environment.

If approved, the change would affect Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary School. The Rebel mascot at Northfork Middle School would also eventually change.

Johnston said this item was put on the agenda last week before Gov. Ralph Northam sent a letter to school divisions asking Confederate names to be removed from Virginia’s schools.

“This had no connection to that it was really more of a reflection of the groundswell of grassroots support for a change in names,” Johnston said.

He said this is not the first time the community has asked the school board to change the names. But given recent events across the country, a discussion is happening again.

“More recently with everything that’s happening at the national level, people are being more tuned in to all of that,” Johnston said. “Plus the name change of Stonewall Jackson in Prince William County that recently made the news .”

Johnston said they have seen a great number of public comments from both sides, those who are for the change and against it. He encourages more people to get involved so the community can learn from each other.

The meeting will start at 4:30 p.m. and you can submit a public comment up until noon on Thursday.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.

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