J.E.B. Stuart HS may change its name

J.E.B. Stuart one of the most diverse schools in the county is beginning to think about changing their name from a Virginian Confederate soldier.


Over the summer, the Fairfax County School Board opened debate and eventually approved, with a 10-2 vote, a motion to explore the possibility to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School.

This is an amazing first step in acknowledging the history and racism that is behind the name of J.E.B. Stuart.

Stuart was a Virginian who served as a Confederate States Army general during the Civil War. The name reflects an ideal that does not represent the Stuart community and keeping the name would only continue to further it.

It was decided that a committee would be created with members including students, parents and other members of the community to consider the advantages and disadvantages of renaming the school.

Despite the fact that many may not be fully aware of the person behind the school name, a change would allow more students to be aware of its history. The name could be changed to someone who reflects the ideals and the sense of the community more. 

Some encourage the name to be changed to Thurgood Marshall High School, which would not only have a man who embodies perseverance, but also reflect the high schools ever growing 60 percent racial minority population.

However, there is a rising number of people who are against the change, some citing the idea that people do not feel offended by the name change anymore, and changing the name would only be an expensive issue.

If it is decided to change the name it would cost an estimated $700,000, and some say that money could be put toward the school.

Because of the mixed feeling on the subject, the School Board has prolong their research and data collection on how the community really feels and to understand the complexity of the issue.

Despite this, the decision should be quite simple.

We have seen continuously people forgetting and not recognizing the power that simple institutions, like a name, have on the keeping those oppressed down.

Many students at Stuart did know the history of their own school’s name which goes to show that the students lacked pride in their own school’s name which is why the Schools Board going into the issue with this committee is a great step in the right direction.

However, this topic has been a heated discussion since December of last year, and the fact that this discussion, which has been brought up many times in the past, is still going to be prolonged is a problem.

There are going to be logistical issues to deal with, but ideological issues should not have this much conflict. There are numerous landmarks, street names, and buildings that align with those who are racist or don’t represent the more open and diverse community Fairfax County is now, but having a school change it’s name is the most basic thing the county could do.

It should be the first of many changes in our county in taking steps to recognize the racist institutions still abundant, even in a diverse area like Annandale because school represents the knowledge and attitude of a larger body.

This change has to happen faster because changing something as fundamental as a name displays the attitudes of this community and those with the power to change it.