- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

MANASSAS (AP) A proposal to name a new school after a Prince William County resident who died at the World Trade Center on September 11 has split the community and the school board.
Jeff Simpson, a volunteer emergency medical technician, was in New York on business when the terrorist attacks occurred. He was last seen heading toward the towers as others were fleeing.
His body was found on March 24 at the base of the south tower, the first tower to collapse. Firefighters and Port Authority workers were found in the same location.
Those who supported naming the school for Mr. Simpson said he was a hero for voluntarily putting himself in harm's way.
"If he had worked in the towers, and the towers had been hit, I would have never given my OK for [the school naming drive]," said Mr. Simpson's wife, Diane. "But I know what happened. He went way beyond the duty of a person."
However, others said honoring one victim would slight others who died that day, including more than 20 other Prince William residents. They support a committee of parents that recommends naming the school Ashland, after the subdivision where it is located.
"It's a safe name," said Julie Roberts, who will have a fourth-grader and a kindergartner at the school. "As a community as a whole, we really didn't want to step on anyone's toes."
The push to name the school after Mr. Simpson has one of its greatest supporters in James Ardaiolo, a fellow rescue squad volunteer. Mr. Ardaiolo organized a petition drive, collecting nearly 4,000 names.
"It amazes me how polarizing this is, and that was never the intent. The last thing we want to do is hurt anybody," Mr. Ardaiolo said.
The board, which rarely deviates from a unanimous decision, finds itself split on the name as well. The board is scheduled to vote on the matter Wednesday.
Several board members have suggested adding a memorial to the school to recognize all the September 11 victims.

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