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Courtesy Fall Church City Schools

The board unanimously selected Oak Street Elementary because it is the school’s original name, evokes a sense of place, and recognizes how trees are essential natural elements of Falls Church.

The new names will be effective July 1.

“The board can’t thank the Falls Church Community enough,” Board Chair Shannon Litton said in a news release. “This is a passionate community with a lot of thoughts and ideas. It has been an emotional experience. We received hundreds of comments and suggestions, and we appreciate each and everyone.”

The decision follows a 10-month, two-stage deliberation and decision-making process that began on June 30, 2020. The first stage was a 6-month  reconsideration of the schools' names based on the division's policies on equity and inclusion.

The two schools honor Founding Fathers who also owned enslaved people. The board solicited and received public comment and other relevant information to guide the board’s decision about changing either school’s name. 

On Dec. 8, the school board voted unanimously to change both names and designated Superintendent Peter Noonan to form two advisory study committees to recommend five names for each school.

The committees included a diverse group of 46 community members -- staff, alumni, citizens, and students -- which made up 20% of the total membership. Their deliberations stretched 13 public meetings over three months, including an interim and final presentation to the School Board.   

Throughout the process, the Board remained open to input from the public on the decisions.

An archive of all Renaming Committee Agendas, Meeting Notes, and videos are available on the schools website at https://www.fccps.org/page/school-renaming.

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(10) comments

John Dutko

It is pretty telling that a fair amount of commenters get their jimmies rustled every time a name change happens. Like clockwork, you can expect a sizeable amount of comments decrying "woke culture", throwing in some dog whistles, and arguments akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

You are all adults, yet you act like entitled brats that have never taken the time to empathize with other people, a character trait most kindergartners learn.

Sometimes a reevaluation of the status quo needs to be examined and made right if it does not align with the zeitgeist of the demographics or societal feelings.

Popular Misconception

OK - so let's remove the names of two of the most brilliant thinkers in history (Jefferson & Mason) from places whose stated goal is to make people smarter (schools). What a crock. Opportunity COMPLETELY missed to show how smart people can hold more than one thought in their head, and how complex (and often complicated) human interactions and relationships are. In many cases these men were not even lawfully able to free their slaves despite their desire to do so. Jefferson is the one who STOPPED the import of slaves to this country.

I don't blame the politicians here - we all understand there is a certain level of inauthentic rhetoric designed to simply garner votes. I blame the citizens who allow it to happen. If all the parents, teachers, administrators, and school board simply told the powers that be that "Nope - we're not changing the name", then what could the so-called "powers" do about it? The PEOPLE need to band together and refuse this nonsense.

John Dutko

Sally Hemings would have loved to have been freed instead of being used as a concubine.

Popular Misconception

OK - so let's remove the names of two of the most brilliant thinkers in history (Jefferson & Madison) from places whose stated goal is to make people smarter (schools). What a crock. Opportunity COMPLETELY missed to show how smart people can hold more than one thought in their head, and how complex (and often complicated) human interactions and relationships are. In many cases these men were not even lawfully able to free their slaves despite their desire to do so. Jefferson is the one who STOPPED the import of slaves to this country.

I don't blame the politicians here - we all understand there is a certain level of inauthentic rhetoric designed to simply garner votes. I blame the citizens who allow it to happen. If all the parents, teachers, administrators, and school board simply told the powers that be that "Nope - we're not changing the name", then what could the so-called "powers" do about it? The PEOPLE need to band together and refuse this nonsense.

Stephanie Richardson

Would like to see the list of possible names.....any races.....cultures other than just one to be considered? If they must fall in line with all the other stupid school name changes, just rename for areas, not people. Wonder if other proposed people's names will be vetted or just assume that no one but the historic figures whose names are being replaced were squeaky clean.....so sad and a total waste if time and money.

Wayne D.

And the "woke" trend continues in this country. We've become the laughingstock in many civilized countries around the world with garbage like this. I am embarrassed for the people involved in this decision and you should be embarrassed if you were one of the ones involved.

John Dutko

International perception of America has gone up positively in Biden's first 100 days.

ROBERT ARRINGTON

hajhahahahhahahahahahha how stupid is this

Robert Segall

Looks like it's time to erase all of the founding fathers of the united states, George Washington owned more slaves than both of these people, should we take him off the dollar bill too? Historical context is important, and is lacking in their decision to remove these names.

John Dutko

Currency can change. It wasn't until 1869 that Georgie boy appeared on the $1 bill. Even Martha Washington made a debut on the same note.

Stop the deification of the "Founding Fathers". Recognize that they contributed a great deal to the shaping of the world and presented us with a living document that is supposed to be representative of the times.

I encourage everyone to read the works of the political philosophers (such as Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu) that helped shape the formation of the Constitution, as the ideas were not novel at the time of inception.

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