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Debate over J.E.B. Stuart High name change continues

Deciding the new name of J.E.B. Stuart High School is now in the hands of the Fairfax County School Board.

Deciding the new name of J.E.B. Stuart High School is now in the hands of the Fairfax County School Board.

The board voted this summer to change the name of the school named after a Confederate General. The issue may now be as simple as removing three letters.

The debate is fueled by two sides of history. Some don't feel it's inappropriate for a school as diverse as J.E.B. Stuart to be named after someone who fought for slavery.

RELATED: Community votes for new name of JEB Stuart High School

However, according to votes from a special election Saturday, many people want to rename the school "Stuart High." That selection received the most points. The election was based on a weighted system where the first choice is worth three points, second choice is worth two points and their third choice is worth one point.

"The community has spoken, let's just honor what they asked for," said Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz.

"Maybe the public is telling us that by 95 percent of them not showing up, that we should be focusing on something that's in the classroom and academic achievement for the students instead of the name on the outside of the building," Schultz went on to say.

In second and third places were people who wanted to change the school name to Thurgood Marshall and Barbara Rose Johns. Advocates to change the name say if you add those totals up and the totals for the other choices on the ballot, it greatly outweighs those who want to keep some variation of the name. One school board member agrees.

"When you look at those totals, the vast majority of people do want a different name other than Stuart," said school board member Ryan McElveen.

The school board will hear the Superintendent's recommendation on September 28 and will debate the issue at their October 16 work session. The final vote is scheduled for October 26.

"I don't think this is a community that wants to hold on to divisions for too long. I think we want to make a decision and move forward," said McElveen.

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