J.E.B. Stuart HS has been renamed Justice

Students agree with the controversial name change

Suad Mohamed, Editorials Editor

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For the past few years, all anyone talked about at J.E.B. Stuart High School was the possibility of the name being changed.
The Fairfax County School Board finally made the right decision on Oct 26. and decided on a name: Justice High School.
Many years ago, a group of students began asking for the School Board to change the name.
J.E.B. Stuart was a Virginian who served as a general for the Confederacy. He fought on for the continuance of slavery during the Civil War.
They did not find it acceptable that a diverse school was named after someone who supported racism and slavery.
The process to get to Justice was long and hard, which is disappointing. It is difficult to understand why the county would have second thoughts on changing a name that gives power to a man who would probably be against the immense diversity of the school.
It took the School Board a year to even agree to have a discussion on the issue. In July 2016, the School Board opened the discussions to solely members of the community, as they would be the ones affected by the change.
Finally, votes on what the new name would be were held in Sep. of this year. Then came the School Board’s decision on Justice.
While there were many students who were indifferent to the name change, the majority had distinct opinions.
“Personally, I do not mind the name change,” Maya Kertache, a sophomore at Justice said. “Stuart was a Confederate general, and for that, he doesn’t deserve the glorification.”
However, Kertache was upset by one aspect of the name change.
“It is not fair that the School Board chose the name Justice when it was not even on the ballot and the students, who are the ones affected by it, didn’t choose it.”
Bianca Terceros-Granado, another sophomore at Justice, had a different opinion.
“Changing the name was the right thing to do. Stuart and his actions do not represent the diversity of our school,” Terceros-Granado said. “I think Justice is an okay name for the school. However, I can see why people are upset, as it is not what we chose.”
While some are upset that the decision did not take the people’s votes into account, others are mad for a different reason.
Some people believe that the name change is arbitrary. They believe that although Stuart was anti-black, his stances have no meaning or hold on the school’s name.
Another source of discontent is the fact that changing the name would cost at least $678,000.
People are wondering if it is worth it to use that much money for changing the name, when it could be used to remedy other problems, such as overcrowding in classrooms.
But Fairfax County has a budget of $2.7 billion. Surely, there is enough money to spare for the name change, which would make students of color feel more comfortable at the school.
“The people who are upset with the name change do not understand the significance of upholding the legacy of a white supremacist,” Idman Dahir, a former student at Justice and Annandale graduate, said. “It shouldn’t matter what the new name is. What should matter is the fact that the school is no longer representing a hate filled person.”
As a result of Stuart’s name change, people have begun talking about other schools that are named after deplorable historical figures, most notably Robert E. Lee HS.
“If the School Board has changed the name of one school because of it’s ties to racism, then it should do the same with the other,” sophomore Megan Le said.
“It’s really important that other schools have started a discourse about the meaning behind the names, too. I’m glad that Stuart had a hand in starting the discussions elsewhere,” Dahir said.

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