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Renaming JEB Stuart High School

 

For those of you interested in the renaming debate; I watched the 7/17 work session (at 1.5x speed on YouTube to limit the pain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1yspt1Fl1s).

Elizabeth Schultz made several cogent comments at about 1:05 and again at 2:15. Megan McLaughlin was also insightful. Others, including Tom Wilson and Karen Corbett Sanders, and Tamara Derenak Kaufax also pointed out the problems with trying to decide a name change without defining "compelling need". Tom Wilson pointed out that in the community survey there was approximately 25% of 1/3rd of the community that supported the name change - approximately 8%...

So, the FCPS Regulation on naming schools (8170.7) has not been followed; there is no indication of large support from the community, there is a broad range of "best practices" in addressing controversial name changes (including in many cases to do nothing) and there is substantial cost associated with a name change (estimated at $600K to 900K).

The Board will try to reach some agreement before the scheduled vote on the 28th. Mr. Moon, sensibly, suggested that a large majority vote was strongly preferable. We'll see... I don't get the sense from this discussion that there will be any name change for JEB Stuart, and hopefully the voices of reason will prevail and the whole debate moves to the Governance Committee and is carefully reconsidered.


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School board didn't represent their voters who in a BINDING vote kept Stuart. And then they change the name. Vote em out. If a representative doesn't represent the voter than the voter has a moral obligation to vote them out. They can't whine about final votes as certified by the election commission.

Bunch of liberal snowflakes.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Bet you $1M that 90% of the HS students and adults who live in the JEB Stuart pyramid have ZERO clue who JEB Stuart, Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Rose Johns and Louis G Mendez are and what they may or may not have accomplished.

Lets not even go into the civil war and the Confederate generals role in directly supporting slavery. 99% of them lived in the South when the war broke out and we're conscripted to do their jobs as military officers. The Civil war happened, slavery ended, Stuart's army camped on/around the grounds where the HS sits today; he wasn't a racist and nobody will sleep any better after the name change. But Fairfax tax payers will be $1M poorer all said and done.

What a waste

Anonymous 2 years ago

Regardless of how you feel about the name change.. how much Tax Payer money was wasted on this entire process to this point? I haven't been following this ordeal that closely but from what I gather a good portion of people were angry due to what seemed to be clearly misappropriated funds towards something that shouldn't cost much of anything.

More to be spent for sure to physically change things at the school and what not.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Seriously? If you read the FOIA'd documents from Sandy Evans, et.al. you will see that this was the plan from the very, very beginning of the whole process.

Brought to you by the NAACP. It was never up to the community.

Almost $1million to this effort. And, they have a school bond coming up. I'm sure it will pass--but I'm betting it gets lots more "no" votes than usual.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Why would anyone contribute towards this? The community voted for Stuart. No one voted for Justice! Let the School Board members who disregarded the community’s vote, contribute their salary. No tax dollars should be expended.

Anonymous 2 years ago

https://wtop.com/fairfax-county/2017/11/fairfax-co-pleads-money-help-fund-j-e-b-stuart-name-change/

Now county is looking for $1 million in donations to make the name change.

Me, NOT!!!!!, not voluntarily supporting this liberal cause, though any shortage in donations will be taxed to county citizens per the news article. Again another perfect example of so called political correctness being expensive and costing much money.

Anonymous 2 years ago

Ask any student currently attending if they know who JEB Stuart is, and if they care about his "place" in American history. 97% won't even know who he is, and if you tell them, won't care. The name isn't the problem, its the school administration and the school board itself that is failing these kids. I reckon parents too can be blamed to an extent. Just another issue for fcps to hide behind. What/who will they go after once the name change is complete?

Anonymous 2 years ago

What about FAIRFAX County name itself? The name comes down from Thomas Fairfax whose treatment of groids would make even Jeb Stuart blush.

"Lord Thomas Fairfax owned 5,282,000 acres (2,138,000 ha; 8,253 sq mi; 21,380 km2) in Virginia. To manage these holdings, Fairfax depended on hundreds of slaves who worked among his 30 Virginia plantations. He was active in trading slaves and, despite his age, he proudly participated in a "little talked about" activity called "bedding down with a negro wench" for which Lord Fairfax would pay a fee to the person who supplied the "wench".

Anonymous 3 years ago

There will be a lot of suspense about how the School Board will choose to implement the J.E.B. Stuart High School name change. Will they choose to issue boxes of White Out to the administrative offices to change the school stationary and buckets of paint to paint over the offensive language on the score boards, basketball court and turf field? Most importantly, will they issue chisels and hammers to the activists so that they can change the school name on the marble signage at the entrance to the school? Think again boys and girls, those changes along with the almost certain legal fees will be made with additional teacher reductions in the classrooms.

Anonymous 3 years ago

How many teachers could be hired for $31 million?

Anonymous 3 years ago

What about Sidney Lanier Middle School. He was a racist Confederate officer that fought here in Virginia to keep African American in the bonds of slavery.

Anonymous 3 years ago

What proportion of the community have been "in favor" of this name change?

The School Board is jeopardizing their integrity by favoring the small minority and acting in contravention of the Regulations of FCPS. It is too cute to draft language that suggests that "private funds" be sought to offset a "significant portion" of the costs - this is a cowardly feint. There is no prospect that the assertion that this is a "unique" case will prevent the advocacy of name changes for many other schools.

There should be a deferral of this issue. FCPS should work with the County to establish a joint committee of community members to establish "best practices" and define a "compelling need" and coordinate a joint policy that can inform future name change proposals for any buildings/parks etc in either the County or the School.

The School Board members must respect process, regulations and, ultimately, the will of the community. Anything less will lead to more community stress, divisiveness and contempt for the Board. There's enough of this already...

Anonymous 3 years ago

This is more slight of hand work by the School Board. The only thing that will be accomplished is to get this off of the SB agenda but there will be about $15,000 raised for the name change while the athletic support will disappear. The $15,000 will come from a token donation by Bruce Cohen of about $10,000 and the community will come up with less than $5,000 because there is little or no support for the change. The rest will come from FCPS Budget AGAIN!

Anonymous 3 years ago

An alternative argument is if the SB was given taxing authority there is the potential that taxing issues might become THE major issue in school board elections. Since the current system gives the Board of Supervisors ultimate say on how much finds the school board receives and what the tax rates will be, school board elections tend to turn on issues which primarily deal with how the schools operate. Give the school board taxing authority and open the door to candidates whose primary agenda would be lowering tax rates regardless of the affect on the quality of education.

Anonymous 3 years ago

from the agenda for Thursday meeting:

Meeting Jul 27, 2017 - Regular Meeting Category Action Items - 8 p.m. Subject JEB Stuart HS renaming Type Action Recommended Action I move that the name of J.E.B Stuart High School be changed no later than the start of the 2019 School Year. I further move that the Board direct staff to start the renaming process this fall and that as part of that process--in the spirit of compromise and in recognition of the need to minimize costs as well as the desire for continuity by alumni--staff request that the Stuart community consider “Stuart High School” as the new name.
The Board further directs staff to create a mechanism for private funding, with the expectation that private funding will pay for a substantial portion of the costs.

The School Board finds there is a compelling need to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School to one that better reflects Fairfax County values and diversity.

That compelling need is based on: 1) the fact that some of the Confederacy’s foundational principles run counter to the values of diversity, inclusion and equity that are fundamental to the mission of Fairfax County Public Schools, 2) the request by a significant number of current students, alumni and other members of the Stuart community to provide a name with less controversial and more unifying and inclusive associations, 3) the namesake does not have another principal legacy or contribution to the community that warrants the honor of an FCPS school name, and 4) the name was not drawn from a local magisterial, neighborhood or street name.

The Board finds that the school is unique in FCPS in having this combination of reasons to change the name.

I move that the name of J.E.B Stuart High School be changed no later than the start of the 2019 School Year. I further move that the Board direct staff to start the renaming process this fall and that as part of that process--in the spirit of compromise and in recognition of the need to minimize costs as well as the desire for continuity by alumni--staff request that the Stuart community consider “Stuart High School” as the new name.

The Board further directs staff to create a mechanism for private funding, with the expectation that private funding will pay for a substantial portion of the costs.

Anonymous 3 years ago

If the SB was given taxing authority there would NO checks and balances and would essentially accountable to nobody since you are correct that they do not listen to the community. Currently, the SB can only spend the funds that are provided to them by the BOS. It is not much control but it is a much better situation than the SB having taxing authority.

Anonymous 3 years ago

The information in that link is a well-kept secret. I'm beginning to believe the "fake news" is keeping it quiet. This shows unethical behavior on the part of Evans and Hynes (telling people to go "off line"?) It is likely to be not only unethical, but, also illegal.

I watched the workshop last week. It is clear they are concerned about the process--even worried. But, having watched these guys for years, my money is on the name change.

I do understand the concern about the name, but to created fake stories about "Massive Resistance" and to harm the names of Fairfax county officials who are long gone, is despicable. Hynes and Evans went along with this and, according to the FOIA, knew that it was a fake story a long time ago. This, to me, is more damning than the collusion with the NAACP--although it is closely related.

I'm sure they are nice people, but they just cannot look at all sides of the issue.

On another topic, Hynes and McElveen jumped on the Rolling Stone story as fact right after it was released. They wrote a public letter together condemning UVA regarding this story--which, of course, turned out to be a hoax.
That is the same with this. Lots of the stories put out about the naming of the high school have turned out to be hoaxes.

We need a new School Board.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Do not be so presumptive about the outcome of the election. A special election is a low turnout type of election and the Democrat vote will be split 3 different ways. There is also a lot of voter discontent about how the SB has handled the name change issue and how they sometimes believe that the Regulations are for other people or changed to satisfy their needs. This case however in their haste to rig the system they were sloppy in their underhanded governance and did not define critical terms.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Good idea, but even that would cost a bare minimum of 1 million per school. The signage alone makes it unbelievably expensive. Price out a new scoreboard and you'll see what I mean. The school board has egg on its face after their machinations have been revealed. This is what happens when people adopt a cause and don't follow proper procedures. It is an example of political posturing that we can not afford.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Let's end this shit right now.

Adopt a policy that says that ALL the high schools named after individuals shall be renamed to a geographic name, unless the school is named after an individual who attended Fairfax County Public Schools. Robinson could keep its name. Jefferson, Marshall, Stuart, Edison, Madison and Lee will have to change theirs. (For purposes of this settlement we will forget that Lee is also a geographic name.) In the future it would require unanimous consent to name a school after an individual who did not graduate from Fairfax County Schools.
That way we are no longer arguing about whether it is appropriate for children to go to a school that is named after an individual who some people find unacceptable or whether name changes are being done for political reasons. It also means we won't be talking about having Thurgood Marshall, Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan or Barak Obama High School in the future. It will mean spending money that otherwise could be spent on a variety of very good programs for our students, but it will deal with the problem once and for all.

Anonymous 3 years ago

FCPS has procedures to follow for naming schools. We have gotten to this point by deviating from established rules and creating procedures that were convenient for driving an agenda. The SB would be wise to play by the rules for the duration of this mess. Otherwise, they are going to make mistakes that will cost additional scarce funds and make a situation where the FCPS will be a defendant in court.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Currently the only reason that they have to change the name of the school is that it is a racially insensitive name for a school and if they use that as the "compelling need" they will not only have 31 other schools needing a name change, a HUGE bill which they have no funds to pay for the changes and about 7 or 8 lawsuits. It is a total mess that was created by Sandy Evans and totally mismanaged by Pat Hynes, of which the entire Board will have a very hard time solving without inflicting very serious damage on the cohesiveness of the entire community.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Here is a bold prediction!

The School Board will change the SB regulation for renaming an existing school by redefining "compelling need" to precisely fit the JEB Stuart name change and change the regulation that empowers them to name the school without input from the community. They will approve the name change and name the school one of three names. Thurgood Marshall HS, Munson Hill HS or Stuart High School. Realistically it is not probable but it is a path that they would have taken in the past. Along with solving the "compelling need" problem, using FCPS funds for changing the name is one that will certainly piss almost everyone off--particularly after raising the teacher/student classroom ratios and not giving teachers the second installment of their promise to make their salaries more competitive with neighboring jurisdictions.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Ironically, the real problem is that the School Board does not have a politically viable reason to change the name without digging a hole for themselves of which half of them will not be able to climb out of. If they use "it is the right thing to do" they will have up to 31 schools that they may be required to change and will be up to their ears in lawsuits. It all goes back to their seat of the pants, to hell with proper procedures in which they have governed. Specifically, very important terms were not defined, the working group was not provided a mandate and parameters in which to operate, School regulations were not followed and they violated good governing practices that should have been followed by a governing Board.

Anonymous 3 years ago

The problem I see is as we tear the threads out (people), we destroy the fabric, our story, our history. Why would anyone want to defend this country in the future if needed....there is no appreciation that Freedom wasn't free and isn't that why so many minorities come here in the first place?

My position is.... if we want to separate from the name of every Virginian in our history who had any relationship with slavery there wouldn't be many left.
Virginia's history is the bedrock of this nation. From colonial days, the revolution, the founding fathers, presidents, and the civil war.

Let's expand the history to be more inclusive, not bury historical figures and names to "feel" better.

Furthermore Tourism is a huge industry in Virginia...Total tourism spending in Fairfax County for 2015 reached over $2.93 billion. Within the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, Fairfax County is the #2 contributor of expenditures to Virginia's tourism industry. Tourism support 30,000 plus local jobs...restaurants, hotels etc.

People come to Virginia to see and learn our history....all of our history.

Anonymous 3 years ago

You are correct. If we are to take a hard look at our history we would need to remove the names of most of our founding fathers, including the grand-daddy of them all, George Washington, and many other prominent people throughout our history, including many of our parents generation. Sadly, most students learned history in school but were never taught how to put it into the context of the time and environment people lived in. By hiding history future generations will be doomed to re-live it.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Once again it is time to point out that the U.S. Civil War from 1861 - 1865 was NOT about slavery, but States Rights. Slavery was the law of the land, and was until Dec 1865.

historybuff 3 years ago

If you look into any person's past you will find something objectionable, and things that are admirable.

He's history here. Yeah, some object to some things about his past, bound to happen. Is it worth a million dollars to erase someone from all official books because someone objects to something in his past?

How about teach against the wrongdoings, praise what is good, and put the money towards the teachers. Kids will know what is wrong is wrong, and what is right is right. Use Stuart as an example, rather than try to hide him for one period/aspect of his life.

Any board member voting to spend a million bucks, which we don't have, is showing just how unwilling they are to look at the bigger picture of the situation.

Seriously, keep the name, praise what is good about him, and use it as a teaching moment to remember what was wrong about our past, and that it happened locally near JEB Stuart HS. Keeping the name is a way of guaranteeing kids will learn the past.

Anonymous 3 years ago

Look for a "compromise" solution of making it Stuart High School with a designation of and emphasis on the Stuart family. The School Board desperately wants to get this massive mistake behind them and they realize that they will have to pay for the cost of the name change if they do not want to live with this for the next three years while the funds are raised by some mystery donor (lol). A compromise appears to be a satisfactory solution for about all members with the exception of the original instigators of Evans and McElveen.

Anonymous 3 years ago

I wonder how they would feel about naming it after the Commander of the Union army, Ulysses S. Grant.
After all, he was from the Union, the North, yet he owned slaves.
Robert Edward Lee owned slaves for a slight fraction of time, when he inherited them through the marriage of his wife. He soon gave them their freedom because he thought that slavery was a vile institution.
Most of them stayed working for him, because they knew how good of a person he was, and it has been documented that they "loved Massa Robert". Don't call me racist for that quote, look it up for yourself.
Grant had no problem owning slaves.
When the Civil War was over, the slaves in all of the south were free, but the slaves in the northern (Union) states were not. Including Grant's.

Anonymous 3 years ago

It's just like the Redskins name change, people who have lived here long enough know that it comes up every few years.

I'm not pro-confederate, but I do like local history, and Stuart is part of that history. I remember reading the interview with the student who started this all, she was in 10th grade when she looked up who Jeb Stuart was and then started the campaign. She was in a school for 2 years before even bothering to look up who the person was, unbelievable. We learned about the Civil War in 6th grade.

Anonymous 3 years ago

My guess is that most will abstain. So, is it a majority of those voting, or does it have to be a majority to change the name?

Most want the name change, but realize the process has been terribly flawed (thanks, Sandy).

I don't think it merits spending the money. Here is what I would do:
do not "officially" change the name, but start referring to the School as "Stuart". In the future, as uniforms are redesigned, leave out the "Jeb" part.
Quit discussing the issue and it will go away. People will soon forget=-and pretty much never thought about it until Evans jumped on the bandwagon.

FWIW, two people running for SB (Keys-Gamarra and Michael Owens(? are on record saying the names of Confederate named schools should be changed. $$$$$$

Anonymous 3 years ago

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