Washington-Lee alumni file suit against school board over name change

Years after local governments around Virginia were confronted with the question of whether to change names or replace statues representing the state’s Confederate history, a local alumni group is filing suit in federal court over their high school’s name change.

The Washington-Lee High School Alumni Association claims the public did not get the chance to weigh-in on the school board’s decision to change its name to Washington-Liberty High.

One year after Washington-Lee became Washington-Liberty, the alumni association filed suit in U.S. District Court in Eastern Virginia against the Arlington School Board, its members and one former member.

The complaint alleges that the board members “deceived their constituents … in order to deprive them of their opportunity to comment on changes that would greatly harm their educational reputations.”

The 48-page complaint goes on to outline how, in August 2017, the then-chair promised to allow the community to be involved in any renaming, only to vote in June before the start of public comment without notice and without putting the vote on the agenda.

The alumni association is demanding a jury trial, a change back to Washington-Lee and compensatory damages.

WTOP has reached out to the Arlington School Board for comment.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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