Virginia school board discusses changing Confederate school names

Fairfax County Public Schools met on Monday to discuss renaming schools in the district that have Confederate ties. (Photo: WDVM)

On Monday, members of the Fairfax County school board in Virginia planned to meet to discuss renaming certain schools "to ensure an inclusive, respectful learning environment," by altering school names that hold Confederate ties.

According to the school board's agenda, the schools named after Confederate soldiers are Robert E. Lee High School, Mosby Woods Elementary School (named after John Singleton Mosby), and Lanier Middle School (named for Sidney G. Lanier). However, because Lanier is owned by the city, the decision to rename the school rests with the City of Fairfax School Board, WDVM reports.

Schools in the district with Confederate ties also include Haycock Elementary School, Lees Corner Elementary School, Sangster Elementary School, and Shrevewood Elementary School. These schools were not named for individuals but rather families who owned land in Fairfax County. Some of the families did serve in the American Civil War, and some were slaveowners.

Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield has always been a controversial name. The school was initially opened in 1958, when Virginia was still resisting school integration, and naming a school after the commander of the Confederate States Army was considered disruptive of the "harmony" of the high school, according to some critics at the time.

While Mosby Woods Elementary School was named for its proximity to the nearby Mosby Woods residential housing subdivision, the developer of the subdivision reportedly chose the name in reference to Confederate colonel John Singleton Mosby, known as the "Gray Ghost."

The discussion, scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon, was to examine how Fairfax County Public Schools can rename the schools named after Confederate soldiers as the board has "recognized that Confederate values are ones that do not align with our community."

It is not yet known when or how the schools will be renamed. Representatives did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s off-hours requests for comment.

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