School board to vote on J.E.B. Stuart High School name change

What will the new name be and will that truly bridge the divide?

FALLS CHURCH, VA (WUSA9) - A local high school named after a confederate general could get a new name on Thursday night. 

That two-year battle is expected to be over when the  Fairfax County School Board votes on a new name for J.E.B. Stuart High School.   

But what it going to be?  

The name that appears to have the most support from school board members is "Justice High School."

RELATED: Va. high school named for Confederate general to be renamed

Justice Thurgood Marshall was one of the top choices from the community, but the proposal to be voted on is not to name is after Justice Marshall but after the theme Justice.

"Justice for all is justice for them today," said school board chair Janie Strauss. 

She says it's time we stopped naming schools after hero's of the Confederacy. 

Stuart students were a mixed bag in terms of supporting the name Justice or not. Some still feel strongly about keeping the name Stuart, especially since it received the most support for a single choice. 

More people in total voted for new names.

When the school was named after the Confederate general in 1958, it was an all white school and during Virginia's massive resistance to integration. Last summer came the deadly white supremacists rally Charlottesville. 

"I was appalled at what happened in Charlottesville. And maybe two years ago I might have supported something else.  But today, I want a real change," said Strauss. 

The Stuart board member, Sandy Evans, agrees.  

The movement to change the name started with a students two years ago.  

This past July, the school board decided the name had to go, and the community voted. 

The top five choices were (1) keeping the name Stuart, (2) Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Virginia teen and civil rights activist Barbara Rose Johns, war hero and educator Col. Louis Mendez, and the geographic "Peace Valley" after the the school's street address.

We do have a  surprise twist. Springfield school board member Elizabether Schultz, who has been fighting  to keep the name Stuart,, has given that up. 

Now, her motion is for Col. Louis Mendez. The decorated combat veteran lived in Falls Church and sent his children to Stuart. Whether that choice has any momentum over Justice, we'll find out In a few hours.

The school board meets at Luther Jackson Middle School in Merrifield at 7 p.m. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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