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Virginia school board considers restoring Confederate names to schools



The Shenandoah County, Virginia, school board will consider restoring Confederate names to two schools on Thursday. A right-wing group wants the names restored to honor the “legacy” of Confederate slavery. The NAACP said white supremacist ideals should not be memorialized. Pictured is the dismantling of a General Robert E. Lee statute in Richmond, Virginia, September 8, 2021. File photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

May 9 (UPI) — The Shenandoah County, Virginia, school board on Thursday was expected to consider reinstating the names of Confederate leaders at two schools whose names were removed in 2021.

The board removed the names of Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby-Lee Elementary School and renamed those schools Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School.

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A right-wing coalition called the Coalition for Better Schools is behind the effort to restore Confederate names. They tried in 2022, and the board deadlocked 3-3, causing the attempt to fail.

The Virginia NAACP said in a statement that it condemns all efforts to retain or add the names or images of Confederate leaders to public property.

“The military leaders of the Confederate States of America took up arms against the United States of America and fought to preserve and expand this special institution of slavery,” the NAAAC statement said. “These hateful ideals of white supremacy should not be memorialized wherever the public, including descendants of African slaves, is required to financially support them.”

In a letter to the school board, the Coalition for Better Schools wrote: “We believe it is essential to reverse this decision to honor the heritage of our community and respect the wishes of the majority. »

According to the Confederate States of America’s Declaration of Secession explaining the reasons for leaving the union and starting the Civil War, this Confederate “legacy” included the slavery of African Americans.

“A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of one man to the high office of President of the United States, whose views and purposes are hostile to slavery,” the Confederate said. says the founding document. “They have encouraged and aided thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.”

According to the Shenandoah County School Board agenda, there was “consensus among school board members to add” the item on restoring Confederate school names to the agenda.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations joined the NAACP in opposing the Coalition for Better Schools honoring Confederate “heritage.”

“It is disturbing that anyone would seek to have their children attend a school named after traitors who sought to divide our nation in favor of slavery and white supremacy,” said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the CAIR, in a press release. “We call on school board members to reject this new attempt to honor the horrific legacy of the Confederacy.”