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School Board Votes To Restore Names Of Confederate Leaders To Schools

The Shenandoah County School Board in Virginia voted 5-1 to restore the names of Confederate military leaders to two public schools, reversing a 2020 decision that had removed these names following the national racial reckoning spurred by George Floyd's murder. 

Each of the schools will revert to their previous names: Mountain View High School to Stonewall Jackson High School, and Honey Run Elementary School to Ashby-Lee Elementary School. This decision was influenced by the Coalition for Better Schools, a conservative group advocating to honor the "community's heritage." 

"These racist symbols only serve to uphold revisionist history and the belief that white supremacy remains morally acceptable," SPLC chief of staff Lecia Brooks said in a statement at the time. "This is why we believe that all symbols of white supremacy should be removed from public spaces."

This 2020 change was part of a broader movement to eliminate Confederate symbolism, which has been a source of sociopolitical division nationwide. Opponents of the restoration, including over 50 individuals who spoke at the board meeting, argue that reinstating these names fails to respect the diverse school community. One Black student expressed distress over having to represent a school named after a figure who fought to uphold slavery.

"I am a Black student, and if the names are restored, I would have to represent a man that fought for my ancestors to be slaves," one student said in a direct appeal to the board members, later adding: "I think it is unfair to me that restoring the names is up for discussion."

The decision by the Shenandoah County School Board to restore names of Confederate leaders to public schools is a regressive action that harms our community and contradicts the values of equality and respect. This move, under the guise of honoring heritage, actually perpetuates a legacy of racism and oppression. 

Link: NBCNews


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