Robert E. Lee High School, Springfield

The Fairfax County School Board will vote in July on a new name for Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield. 

The Fairfax County School Board has unanimously voted to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield.

Following Tuesday's vote, a one-month public comment period to consider which replacement name is best starts Wednesday.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand recommended six possible replacement names: John Lewis, Barack Obama, Mildred Loving, Cesar Chavez, Legacy and Central Springfield.

A community meeting and a public hearing will be held next month, before the school board votes July 23 on a new name that will go into effect for the 2020-2021 school year.

“The Confederate values are ones that do not align with our community,” said Board Vice Chair Tamara Derenak Kaufax, who made the motion calling for a vote to change the name. “I have seen the pain and the hurt that these names have inflicted on friends and colleagues and community members.”

Board member Karen Keys-Gamarra, who seconded the motion, said the change should have happened a long time ago.

“It represents our failure to truly recognize our neighbors and to respect their humanity,” she said.

Students spoke out during a public online hearing Monday night ahead of Tuesday’s vote, with many saying they felt shame and disgust attending a school named for the Confederate general.

“The name is, in all honesty, an embarrassment to the many students that attend Lee High School, the 80% minority population that goes to that school every day,” said Kimberly Boateng, the student representative for the Fairfax County School Board.

Some students registered disgust with seeing the portrait of Lee in the school lobby. Others lamented that their diplomas bear the name of the Confederate general.

The school board voted in 2017 to remove the name of another Confederate general, J.E.B. Stuart, from a Falls Church school now named Justice High School.

In recent years, Virginia schools named for Confederate figures have undergone or discussed name changes.

Last week, Fairfax High School’s community changed from “Rebel Pride” to “Fairfax Lions.” Two Prince William County schools are looking to change their names, for Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson. And, last year, an Arlington County high school was renamed Washington-Liberty.

(22) comments

Rebel

Seriously? Ok, so here are some suggestions for the name change - Maduro high, che Guevara High, Putin high, antifa high, or snowflake high?

Iwouldntgiveabean

Why do edgelords think they are witty?

American

Here is the best name for schools HS01, HS02 or HS03...........

larryclyons

Interesting how you worship traitors and want to honor the enemies of our great nation. Let me guess you'd go for Goebbels Memorial High.

Typical neo-confederate Wing Nuttery. Interesting how your sort wants participation awards for your losing side.

fake_journalist

Robert E. Lee was one of the biggest traitors in American history and he is directly responsible for the deaths of over 600k American veterans and 50k civilians. He and his boys are directly responsible for the majority of modern America's problems. He should never be forgotten, but he needs to be remembered correctly.

Simplecountrygirl

[censored] Dear Fake _Journalist you need education. Robert E. Lee was no traitor and sure as heck was not DIRECTLY responsible for 600,000 deaths and 50,000 civilians!! What is wrong with you. Abe Lincoln himself asked Robt. E. Lee to command the Union Army but Lee was a Virginian and could not take up arms against his home State. He was a Mexican war hero and Commandant of West Point. Lee did not believe in slavery he thought it was a horrible institution. Lee himself did not own slaves, His family did own slaves in Virginia, but he inherited slaves upon the marriage to his wife. Which if you will educate yourself you will find that a man inherited the property of the wife in that time period. You will also note that US Grant the Gen. of the Federal Army did own slaves through his marriage to Julia Dent who was Southern and owned slaves and came from a slave holding family. Her slaves were not freed until after the Civil War!! Old Abe Lincoln also married a Southerner and both of Mary Todd's brother's fought for the South. Know your history before you spout out FAKE NEWS ha ha That's the problem with you and today's generation they don't know anything about the history of this Country but gin up all the people who know nothing about our past. Yeah so lets remember Robert E. Lee Correctly got it and cut the bull. Naming schools after Black people is not the answer it's stupid and does nothing to move us forward with all races.

swandive

Romanticize much??? True, Abe did ask Lee to command the Union, yet he chose to lead the treasonous South. Considering Lee considered slavery bad for white people and good for Black people AND he never made any noticable steps against it, it's obvious why he declined Abe's offer, no matter how you try to justify it. Yes, he inherited slaves from his father in law, who, in his will stipulated that subject slaves be freed within 5 years of his death. In response, Lee petitioned the state to maintain control of the slaves after 5 years. Also, of note, Lee was VERY cruel to the slaves that he inherited.

Simplecountrygirl

Oh my Lord swandive please go and learn the correct history. You need to read Lee's original papers and journals. You are a very confused person. Robt. E. Lee was a kind man and was NEVER cruel to anyone. He hated slavery and thought it to be an outdated institution. I am an certified historian and teacher and I don't believe what I read in books written by the victors I read the original documents written by the men and women who wrote them in their own words including the slaves narratives. You should try that it might open your eyes. I think arguing over names of schools is silly. I agree with one of the post on here, don't name schools after people, as it will somehow hurt someone. Just give them a generic name. I just don't want history distorted and not given to the masses correctly. Lee never petitioned the State to maintain control of the slaves after 5 years. Fantasy. In fact I am from the North and please do not assume I romanticize anything. I just go for the truth in history not what some people want it to be.

OBLUE

how do you know how he felt and what he did

swandive

A kind man?? HE OWNED SLAVES!!!!! "Never cruel to anyone"....except his slaves. If you are a certified historian ([rolleyes] then you would know that his writings conflicted with how he lived. How does one hate slavery, yet fought to maintain the institution AND to keep the ones that he inherited? Like I said....romanticize much?

Simplecountrygirl

I guess they won't let me respond on this program to your last post as nasty as it was so I will just end it here until people like you get educated. Have a wonderful day and learn History of this Country before you berate someone you don't know.

Joe Christmas

Lee chose to be a commander in the confederacy because he was from Virginia, his family was there. Why would he want to fight against his own state and family? Hypothetical causes rarely trump home and family.

Joe Christmas

The fact that someone owned slaves doesn't automatically make them unkind. And the vast majority of people fighting for the confederacy weren't do it to maintain slavery, just like the vast majority of people fighting the confederacy weren't doing so to free slaves.

swandive

[yawn]. How can anyone who denies another human his freedom, considers that person property and, not to mention terrorize them physically be considered "kind"? How does that work??? I guess Adolph Hitler was kind as well, huh...

Iwouldntgiveabean

Privately, according to the correspondence collected by his own family, Lee counseled others to hire white labor instead of the freedmen, observing “that wherever you find the negro, everything is going down around him, and wherever you find a white man, you see everything around him improving.”

In another letter, Lee wrote, “You will never prosper with blacks, and it is abhorrent to a reflecting mind to be supporting and cherishing those who are plotting and working for your injury, and all of whose sympathies and associations are antagonistic to yours. I wish them no evil in the world—on the contrary, will do them every good in my power, and know that they are misled by those to whom they have given their confidence; but our material, social, and political interests are naturally with the whites.”

Publicly, Lee argued against the enfranchisement of black Americans, and raged against Republican efforts to enforce racial equality in the South. Lee told Congress that black people lacked the intellectual capacity of white people and “could not vote intelligently,” and that granting them suffrage would “excite unfriendly feelings between the two races.” Lee explained that “the negroes have neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power.” To the extent that Lee believed in reconciliation, it was among white people, and only on the precondition that black people would be denied political power and therefore the ability to shape their own fate.

Iwouldntgiveabean

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/

I would love to hear what your sources are, as you are quite knowledgeable about History. Because all you are doing is making excuses that echo anti-Abolitionist sentiment circa 1858.

OBLUE

then why was it named for him to begin with and the family name on the park south of here,traitor you need to read more

Simplecountrygirl

Obviously OBLUE you are not the kind of person to have a conversation with. You just don't know the history and I haven't got time to teach it to you. You have an opinion and an agenda and that's fine but your comments are like Juice they are worth the squeeze. All you want to do is call other names because they don't agree with your view. Your kind of attitude only hurt all races of this Country. You are the problem not the cure, people like you are a dime a dozen that is why were in the shape were in. Have a wonderful day.

Joe Christmas

The school's "student body is composed of 36.84% Hispanic, 25.41% Asian, 20.07% White, 14.10% Black, and 3.58% other"

If you rename it Cesar Chavez High, it would alienated 2/3 of the student body, essentially making it seem like a hispanic high school. John Lewis from Maryland, so that makes no sense. Loving is a no-name, and names of other blacks would alienate over 85% of the student body. Obama has no roots here. Best to rename the school something other than a name IMO.

OBLUE

they dont care

Citizen52

I’m not part of that community but I agree that the best idea is not to name schools after people.

PWC resident since '69

Chavez, although of hispanic roots, was a labor union leader Who despised illegal aliens...do some research kiddies!

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