Return to Tradition: Schools Vote to Restore Original Names

( – School board members in Shenandoah County Virginia voted on Friday, May 10th to restore the names of two schools that were changed in 2020. The school names were changed after the death of George Floyd to remove any semblance of the area’s Confederate history and heritage. Board members agreed to restore the original school names in a 5-1 vote. Mountain View High School will once again be named Stonewall Jackson High School in honor of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Honey Run Elementary School will return to its original name of Ashby Lee Elementary School to honor Generals Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby.

Board member Gloria E. Carlineo said the decision has nothing to do with race and was based on correcting “wrongful actions” by governmental systems to “restore citizens’ trust in authorities.” According to Carlineo the decision in 2020 to change the school names was rushed and made under strict pandemic restrictions in a “knee-jerk” reaction resulting from the pressures presented by the Black Lives Matter movement. She claims due process was neglected and voices from the community were not heard before the change was finalized.

Board member Kyle Gutshall was the only vote against restoring the historical school names. Gutshall said he respects the opinion of both sides but was “obligated” to uphold the wishes of his constituents in District 4.

Sarah Kohrs, a parent with children in the school district spoke out against the restoration of the school names. She said the school board has “sent a terrible message” by choosing to “regress and honor civil war figures” she claims betrayed the United States by supporting slavery and segregation.

Parents expressed concern about the cost of changing the school names again. The motion guarantees that private donations will be used to fund the restoration so the burden will not fall on the school system or government tax funds.

Shenandoah County is the first school board nationwide to restore local heritage by reversing a school name change.

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