Rename Stonewall Jackson Schools
Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers Announces Proposal To Rename Stonewall Jackson High School After Fallen Heroes At Charlottesville
Manassas, VA --- Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers announced that he will work with the school board, citizens, and local community groups to rename Stonewall Jackson High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.
In the same county that Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson earned his nickname in violent rebellion against the United States during the Civil War, we will again make a stand against the hate he fought to protect. “Stonewall Jackson died defending the perverse institution of human ownership,” Sawyers said.
“When we name a school after someone we honor and celebrate that person. These schools were named in a time when Brown v. Board of Education, integration, and the Civil Rights Act were being implemented across our country. Under the false rhetoric of ‘heritage,’ these schools were, in fact, named after a Confederate icon as a “thumb in the eye” to Federal actions ending their continued racial segregation of public schools.”
This initiative represents the first step toward eliminating the stain of celebration of Confederate leaders in Prince William County Schools. Mindful of the financial constraints placed on the District, Sawyers’ goal is to raise private funds to pay for the renaming, in whole or in part.
It is clear that school names celebrating the Confederacy have no legitimate place in our children’s lives. Continuing to teach about the Confederacy and its leaders in the context of the Civil War remains an integral part of our curriculum in the same way we teach about the Nazis and their leaders during World War II. Putting these lessons in their proper context will strengthen our children’s education, while at the same time denying those who seek to misappropriate history in order to advance their hate-filled agendas. Children should not be forced to spend more than half of their public education in schools that celebrate a traitor who fought to enslave others.
In today's political climate, these monuments are now used as rallying points by the radical Alt-Right, Neo-Nazis and the KKK to terrorize minority communities. Prince William County Schools owes our community real leadership. Never again should we allow our schools to be used as symbols of hate -- inspiring domestic terrorism and racial violence.
Sawyers concluded, “The time has come to remove the legacy of Stonewall Jackson right where it began --- right here in Prince William County, VA, 30 miles from Washington, DC and in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s time to remember real heroes.”
It will cost approximately $250,000 to rename the middle school and $500,000 to rename the high school.
Here is a WDVM story that aired yesterday.
I look forward to the continued dialogue throughout the county.