Virginia County Reinstates Confederate School Names 4 Years After Racial Reckoning Prompted Their Removal

Honey Run Elementary School and Mountain View High School in Virginia are returning to their former names after a vote on Friday, May 10

<p>Chet Strange/Getty Images</p> Counter protestors gather during a planned Ku Klux Klan protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia

Chet Strange/Getty Images

Counter protestors gather during a planned Ku Klux Klan protest on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia

Two schools in Shenandoah County, Virginia will once again have names honoring Confederate leaders.

As reported by The New York Times, the Shenandoah County, Va. school board voted to change the names of Honey Run Elementary School and Mountain View High School back to their former names during a meeting that began on Thursday night, May 9 and lasted into the early morning hours of Friday, May 10.

The school board members voted 5-1 to restore the schools' former names — Ashby-Lee Elementary and Stonewall Jackson High.

The school names were originally changed in a vote that took place in July 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the wake of George Floyd's murder, which sparked a racial reckoning across the U.S.

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The Shenandoah County school board's vote appears to mark the first occurrence in the country of school names that were changed after the summer of 2020 being rolled back to honor Confederate leaders again, researchers at the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Initiative told The New York Times.

A revote on the issue in 2022 resulted in a tie, which meant the new school names remained until Friday morning's vote.

Residents of the county, which is 90% white, came to the meeting to speak for and against the school names being restored to honor Confederate leaders.

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“When you read about this man — who he was, what he stood for, his character, his loyalty, his leadership, how Godly a man he was — those standards that he had were much higher than any leadership of the school system in 2020,” board member Tom Streett said at the meeting, according to The Times.

“I think it is unfair to me that restoring the name is up for discussion,” said student Aliyah Ogle, 14, per the newspaper. She added that Stonewall Jackson died fighting in favor of slavery.

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“Had he won, I would not be allowed to attend public school and I would not be speaking here today.”

Some speakers who were against restoring the names pointed out that the schools' names were changed to honor Confederate leaders in 1959, as part of a “massive resistance” to integrating schools.

Residents who wanted the names changed back claimed there wasn't racism at the schools and the 2020 renamings were part of a "woke movement."

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