Stonewall High's name ‘a constant reminder’

Prince William County schools staff heard suggestions Monday night from the community as the school board looks to rename Stonewall Jackson High School and Stonewall Middle School.

Residents suggested renaming the schools after notable local and statewide figures, including former Gov. Doug Wilder, along with other suggestions, including Innovation High. 

One suggestion was Celestine Braxton, a long-time educator in the county for 33 years who died in 2014. Braxton started teaching before racial segregation was ruled unconstitutional. 

A petition to name the schools after Arthur Reed, a long-time security assistant at the high school, has more than 1,000 signatures.

A petition has 725 signatures to name the schools after Lucinda Griffin, a Black girl who was enslaved. 

And another petition has 572 signatures to rename the high school after Ibram Kendi, a historian, educator, author and graduate of Stonewall Jackson High.  

The school division held a virtual meeting Monday to gather input on possible new school names. Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, Americans have protested police violence that disproportionately impacts African Americans and it has led local and state leaders to revisit statues and buildings honoring Confederate leaders.

Earlier this month, the school board formed naming committees for the two schools.

School Board member Lisa Zargarpur, who represents the Coles district, said she is grateful for everyone who shared these stories. 

“I’ve learned so much tonight,” Zargarpur said during the meeting. “You've made this harder, because I like a lot of these. You were passionate, focused on the message and it was meaningful. I’m committed to listening to the community.” 

School Board Chair Babur Lateef said renaming the schools will not pull funding away from scheduled renovations or future projects the school board wants to happen. 

The school board remains committed to increasing funding for students who are economically disadvantaged and increasing resources at the high school. 

“I don't want anyone out there to believe that the money it will take to do this will come from anything we are going to do with Stonewall or want to do in the future,” Lateef said. 

 The division has scheduled a second virtual meeting to receive input Thursday, June 25. 

The school board is expected to vote on a new name June 29.

Bristow resident Nichole King-Campbell said she recommends renaming it Innovation High School. King-Campbell is president of the high school's parent organization. Her daughter is a rising senior. During the meeting Monday, she said she would be able to fundraise better if the school was renamed.

A few teachers from the two schools spoke during the virtual meeting, including one who said she surveyed more than 130 high school staff and said most agree with the renaming proposal. That teacher said they recommended renaming the school Canon Branch High after a nearby creek, Unity High or Arthur Reed High.

Past time vs. too far: Protests split on Stonewall Jackson High name change
Stonewall Jackson High's name ‘a constant reminder’
Prince William superintendent calls for renaming Stonewall Jackson schools

(25) comments

Joe Christmas

Replace the name of a great man, a war hero, with the name of a common person chosen just because they were African American. Brilliant

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Robert Swigart

@Joe Christmas, if that is your name...war hero? For the losing side...? If you cheer for losers, you must be a loser...you get that, right? Don’t be a keyboard hero. And NONE of the suggested names are common people. They are, at least, 100 times better people than the current name on my high school’s wall.

larryclyons

Using your logic perhaps we ought to rename the school for Irwin Rommel. He was a "great man", "a war hero" and on the losing side of a nasty war. Just like Jackson.

Soily

I don't really care what name Stonewall Jackson High School has. But, using your logic we should not have monuments and buildings named after Pontiac, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Red Cloud, Tecumseh and many others. They were all war heros and losers.

Iwouldntgiveabean

You really have a knack for supporting the oppression of minorities. Hey everybody-- this guys loves to espouse the righteousness of Manifest Destiny and the slaughter of indigenous people! You pick the one group that was treated worse than the African-Americans. Good Job.

When you get a chance to better yourself, go visit the National Museum of the American Indian and see how the white man and the US Govt have been an "Indian Givers" since colonization.

bbyplatano

Some of these suggestions were not just ordinary people. Lucinda Griffin was not just enslaved but faught in the First Battle of Manassas, fighting for her freedom and risking her life. You can find her burial near the Manassas battflefield.

Another suggestion was William Lomax, an african american man who left to New York and came back to Manassas to fight for the union in Manassas. Despite all hardship and discrimination hewas able to accumulate wealth and create a community that was safe for African Americans. His house was located on Liberty Street.

You must not know much about the history of this area very well if this offends you. Jennie Dean elementary school is named after Jane "Jennie" Dean, who after becoming free from her enslavement created schools and churches for African Americans. She created the "Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youths", the only secondary education available to African Americans for more than 4 decades in Northern Virginia. Jennie Dean Elementary is located right next to where to where the industrial school was located and there is a memorial there.

As much as you think Stonewall Jackson was a great man it does not change the fact that he owned slaves, fought to maintain slavery, and gifted slaves to his own children, something that students that go to this school have to deal with everyday the go to school.

covid2021

Internet petitions are great, but we really need to appease the mob because if they aren't happy about it then there will be no building left.

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PJC

Don't name a school after anyone. Years down the road, you will find out he did something and will have to go through this again. It might be innocent now, but later, who knows.

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PWC resident since '69

Hood High School, Lowered Expectations Tech and Underachievement Academy are possibilities

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larryclyons

Oh you mean name it after yourself. Better an honorable man than a loser and a slave supporter.

Citizen52

Do not rename after a person.

Soily

It should be called Cancel Culture High School. If you disagree with me you should be fired from your job, your parent's gravestones should be knocked over, your kids should be beat up and your home should be burned.

PWC resident since '69

News flash 102 shot in Chicago over weekend, 24 in NYC, bags of bones wash up in Seattle...most likely no statues or Confederates (unconfirmed of course) perpetrated the crimes...Yet people worry about a “scary” name! Keep your eyes on the ball people

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OBLUE

so sad

James Young

If they were honest, they'd be naming it Eric Arthur Blair High School.

Soily

Had to look it up, but yes you are right.

PWC resident since '69

If Walts really gave a damn the name would have been gone years ago

Mark W

While I disagree with renaming the school in this cancel culture environment, it is a forgone conclusion. Where was everyone 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago that had a problem with the name of the school. When it is renamed, I hope it is something as close to neutral as possible. Manassas High School, Manassas Middle, Cannon Branch is fine, but not after a person that 20 years down the road someone discovers something they did or said that we are back to renaming and spending a bunch of money again.

Pgatesman1982

Honestly nobody even cared about the school name until the George Floyd stuff happened. Yes it was a tragedy, but there’s nothing nothing wrong with the school name. It’s about history, and you can’t change history. People need to just relax and stop trying to start a movement when no movement is needed.

Old Kegler

It appears someone has cut the comments short..

Insidenova wouldn’t be trying to manipulate opinions would they? There were at least a dozen or so other comments on here yesterday,including mine,that I will repost :

What in the world is wrong with the review board?

Stop ! Just stop trying to appease everyone!

If you are as smart as you pretend to be, you have to know that to name these schools after someone will not make everyone happy. You should start by giving these two schools numbers, instead of names..

Prince William County High School #17 (or whatever #)

Prince William County Middle School #10 (or whatever #)

If you are so smart,and and think you are in tune with the public,you have to understand my heroes are not the same as your heroes......

Do the right thing,and give them ALL a real nice number.

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