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NAACP lawsuit over Confederate-named schools in one Va. county dismissed

The Hanover Board of Supervisors recently ousted a school board member who voted to change the names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School. | Credit: WWBT
The Hanover Board of Supervisors recently ousted a school board member who voted to change the names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School. | Credit: WWBT(WHSV)
Published: May. 14, 2020 at 4:01 PM EDT
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The

- Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School - has been dismissed by a federal judge.

The Hanover NAACP filed a lawsuit against the school system and Hanover County back in August.

The lawsuit claims students’ 1st and 14th Amendment rights are being violated, and also their rights under the Equal Education Opportunity Act. The lawsuit said the county is compelling speech in support of “a legacy of segregation and oppression.”

Hanover County’s School Board announced on May 13 that the court granted its motions and dismissed the NAACP’s lawsuit.

“The School Board respects, values, and cares about all students and will continue to focus on providing them with the best educational opportunities possible,” Hanover County’s School Board said in a statement.

The lawsuit had demanded name changes for the schools.

___________

Nov. 13, 2019

The Hanover County School Board will take up the hot topic issue of changing the name of two schools that are named after Confederate leaders.

This move comes after a big push and

, who says it violates the rights of students and disrupts learning.

“For decades, students in Hanover County have been forced to attend schools bearing the names of Confederate leaders,” Hanover NAACP President Robert Barnette said.

The NAACP and many supporters want the names of Lee Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School changed.

“To be called a ‘Confederate’ or ‘rebel’ is derogatory,” Barnette said.

The Hanover NAACP filed a lawsuit against the school system and Hanover County back in August.

The lawsuit claims students’ 1st and 14th Amendment rights are being violated, and also their rights under the Equal Education Opportunity Act.

According to a school representative, Hanover County has been dropped from the lawsuit. The school system is the only target.

“The school board has refused to change these symbols of racial injustices,” Barnette said.

A spokesperson for the Hanover County School system confirms the school board will hold a special closed meeting on Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. to discuss ways to resolve the lawsuit.

If they don’t find a resolution, it could cost the school system hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the lawsuit, and the legal battle could last for years. If the NAACP wins, the school board could be responsible for their legal fees, which are expected to reach several million dollars.

“The Hanover County Chapter of the NAACP supports the Hanover County School Board’s proposal to resolve the open lawsuit quickly and efficiently and invest in a more equitable Hanover County Public Schools," said Barnette on Wednesday morning.

It’s not an easy fix or decision to change the names and mascots. If the school board decides to make the change, they've estimated it could cost nearly $500,000.

If you live in the county and want to voice your opinion, you can reach out to your school board member before the meeting.

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