- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2020

A Virginia school board voted unanimously Tuesday to rename two schools named after Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Mason due to their owning of slaves — even after the majority of community members said they opposed the idea.

The Falls Church School Board voted 7-0 to rename Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and George Mason High School following a six-month-long process sparked by the George Floyd unrest.

The process included a community survey in October that found 56% of respondents opposed the name changes.

“After deep and careful consideration of everything I’ve heard and read, I conclude that renaming both schools is in the best interest of our students and a necessary part of our equity work,” school board Chair Greg Anderson said Tuesday, WTOP reported.

“I considered the survey results and the community discussion that followed, and I revisited our public hearings,” he said. “I conclude that the public is split, and if you go beyond the simple number, I’ve heard reasoned perspectives from those in favor of retaining the names and from those in favor of changing the names.”

Officials estimate the taxpayer cost of the name changes could exceed $110,000, WTOP reported.

“The Board took seriously the viewpoints and concerns raised by many students, parents, staff, and community members,” Mr. Anderson said in a statement. “We thank everyone who shared their perspectives with us and will be mindful of your comments as we now begin selecting names that reflect the diversity of opinions in our community. Our schools must be places where all students, staff, and community members feel safe, supported, and inspired.”

The schools superintendent will now take individuals’ nominations for an advisory study committee, which will then begin the process of determining new names.

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