WASHINGTON — In a packed room at J.E.B. Stuart High School, in Falls Church, on Monday night, Fairfax County Public Schools officials listened as parents, students and alumni debated whether the school’s name should be changed.
Controversy over the school’s name has been going on for months. Those favoring the name change say it’s disrespectful to honor the Confederate leader.
“It should be changed to something that would better fit the values at Stuart,” said Anna Rowan, a senior at the school.
On Monday, community members broke into small groups to discuss the pros and cons of changing the name.
Rowan said that learning that her high school was named after the Confederate leader as a symbol of resistance against school integration in the late 1950s made her want to speak up.
Alumnus Paul Clark said there were more important things that need the public’s attention than the school’s name.
“When you start changing names and revising history just because somebody doesn’t like that particular name I think you can run into some real trouble,” Clark said.
In a survey that aimed to take the pulse of the community, 56 percent said the name should not change.
“Hopefully they’ll leave the name the way it is,” Clark said.
Fairfax County officials say the change would cost just under $700,000.
WTOP’s Keara Dowd and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.