Board Returns Confederate Names to Schools

Board Returns Confederate Names to Schools

"Stonewall Jackson Rides Again"

In a recent development, the Shenandoah County School Board, after a notable decision in 2020 to remove the names of Confederate generals from its educational institutions, has now opted to reinstate the names of Jackson and two other Virginia-based Confederate generals, as reported by WHSV-TV.

This decision signifies the reversion of Mountain View High School to its former designation as Stonewall Jackson High School. Similarly, Honey Run Elementary School will return to its original name, Ashby Lee Elementary School, amalgamating the monikers of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Turney Ashby, the latter a cavalry commander who, like Jackson, perished during the Civil War.

Education Week's report highlighted that prior to this vote, approximately 60 schools across the nation bore names associated with Confederate leaders, marking this particular decision as the inaugural instance of reinstating former names.

A petition, presented to the board in April, underscored the historical significance of these names and their deep-rooted integration within the community over the years. Notably, over 90 percent of surveyed individuals expressed a desire for the reinstatement of the former names.

"We understand that the decision to rename these schools was made in response to discussions surrounding Confederate symbols. However, we believe that revisiting this decision is essential to honor our community’s heritage and respect the wishes of the majority," the petition articulated.

Gloria Carlineo, a member of the school board, criticized the 2020 vote that led to the removal of Confederate names, asserting its flawed nature. She emphasized, "This was not an innocent mistake by some inexperienced school board. No, this was a carefully choreographed advance of a school board alluding to ignore the people they represented," as reported by WHSV.

During a hearing on Thursday regarding the name restoration, impassioned arguments both for and against the change echoed throughout the chambers.

One resident articulated, "If you vote to restore the name ‘Stonewall Jackson’ in 2024, you will be resurrecting an act in 1959 that is forever rooted in mass resistance and Jim Crow segregation."

Conversely, a supporter of the change asserted, "I ask that when you cast your vote, you remember that Stonewall Jackson and others fighting on the side of the Confederacy in this area were intent on protecting the land, the buildings, and the lives of those under attack. Preservation is the focus of those wishing to restore the names," according to CNN.

Dennis Barlow, the school board chair, attributed anti-Confederate bias to a misinterpretation of history, stating, "People in the Shenandoah Valley say that only the Confederates are the ones who did nasty things, or did nasty things to black people. You just stopped reading your history, and you’re not being realistic. War’s hell," as reported by WHSV.

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