Fairfax Co. changes policy to allow renaming of schools

WASHINGTON — A recent policy change in Fairfax County now allows the school board to rename schools if there’s a compelling need.

As a result, a recent push to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall could go before the school board. Previously, the board could only rename school facilities that were being re-purposed.

The push to rename J.E.B. has gained traction with some students and parents, even celebrities like actress Julianne Moore and director Bruce Cohen who attended the school. They’re just shy of the 35,000 signatures needed to change the school’s name.

“When our school was founded in 1959, it was named after Stuart, a Confederate General, to protest the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling that ended the segregation of public schools,” the petition reads.

See the Change.org petition here.

The Fairfax County school board voted Thursday to change to its policy. The board unanimously voted to add a sentence allowing for schools to be renamed if there’s a compelling need.

There’s also an online petition to change Robert E. Lee High and W.T. Woodson High, named after a superintendent who opposed desegregation.

Meanwhile, others have filed petitions with the board to keep the names.

There are no community hearings scheduled yet to discuss name changes, but the policy change allows for that next step.

Megan Cloherty

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

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