For about two hours Saturday morning, protestors stood in front of Stonewall Jackson High School near Manassas.
The Prince William County School Board is expected to hear suggestions Monday for new names for the high school, along with Stonewall Middle School. A decision on new names is expected June 29
With signs that included “Save Stonewall,” about 15 people organized the protest Saturday to call for keeping the name.
Another 15 people came out to the school for a counterprotest, holding signs that said "SJHS is no more," "Renaming it is long overdue," and "Honk if you're not racist."
Manassas resident Mark Davis opposes renaming the schools.
"I came out here because it's gone too far," he said.
Renaming the school is a slippery slope and political correctness has gone to the extreme, Davis said.
"It's ridiculous," he said. "It's basically like book burning."
Nokesville resident Roberta Haggerty graduated from Stonewall Jackson High more than four decades ago. She doesn’t want to see the name changed, either.
"I don't want to lose the name of my school," she said. "It's my alma mater. My heart is here. I grew up here. This is my community."
Haggerty said the school's name doesn't have to do with racism and said Jackson was an honorable man.
"We are alumni," she said. "We are not trying to cause trouble or hurt anyone."
Bristow resident Nichole King-Campbell attended the counterprotest. She supports renaming the schools. King-Campbell is president of the high school's parent organization. Her daughter is a rising senior.
King-Campbell said the school is amazing, but the name was offensive.
"I am a military veteran," she said. "When you think you fought for freedom, but I have to drop off my daughter at a school named after a Confederate."
For people not familiar with the school, she said she has to explain herself.
"I have to explain it to my family in New York," she said. "We need a change."
King-Campbell said African American and Hispanic children can perform academically better when they have positive role models.
"You can't study history and not feel conflicted by the name," she said. "I'm happy to see a diverse group come out [to the counterprotest]."
Barbara Keating, who graduated from the high school this year, attended the counterprotest to show her support for renaming the school. When she first heard about the idea to rename, she said she was overjoyed.
"If you're against the name change, you need to step up and look at the history," she said. "Look back and see this is not what we want: a county to promote Confederate soldiers."
Keating doesn't think the name is something the county should support, because the Confederacy supported institutional slavery.
Keating said she felt welcomed at the school her freshman year. But she struggled to take pride in the school, because of the name.
"It felt contradictory because I love the school but hate the name," she said.
Coles District resident Angela Henz graduated from the high school in 2002 and helped organize the counterprotest.
She said when she moved from Germany to the region, she was horrified of the Confederacy's legacy.
"Coming here, honestly I didn't feel safe," she said. "I love the people I went to high school with. I didn't have school pride because of the name."
County resident Katelyn Page, Miss Virginia 2020, held a sign that said "Make racism wrong again."
"I'm here because it's the right thing to happen and it's going to happen," she said. "We are not going to stop until it does."