RICHMOND, Va. – Several Virginia schools report no plans to change the names of schools that bear ties to the Confederacy in the wake of a deadly clash between white nationalists and social justice crusaders in Charlottesville last weekend.
Numerous social justice groups are applying pressure on city and school officials to erase all references to the Old South after a clash that left one person dead and dozens of others injured at a planned “Unite the Right” rally Saturday.
Armed white nationalists who secured permission from the city to hold the event were met by leftists of all sorts with weapons in hand, and the two groups repeatedly broke into fights. Later in the afternoon, an alleged racist plowed a car into people and other vehicles, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
A police helicopter also crashed on the way to the rally, and two state troopers died as well.
The violence ignited renewed calls across the country to remove Confederate monuments as alleged symbols of slavery and racism, accelerating a movement that began after a racist gunned down nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.
But school officials in several districts closest to last weekend’s violence told WTVR there’s currently no plans in the works to erase ties to the Confederacy.
In the Richmond district wrote in a statement that officials are planning to talk about the issue in regards to J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, which is named after native Virginian and Confederate Army Gen. James Stewart.
“In light the (sic) recent news concerning confederate monuments and symbols, we are planning to have discussions about this matter however no decisions have been made at this time,” the statement read.
Henrico Public Schools contends school officials have more important things to worry about than changing the names of Seven Pines Elementary (a reference to the Battle of Seven Pines) or Douglas S. Freeman High School’s Rebel mascot.
Freeman was a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer from Lynchburg who served under Robert E. Lee and later detailed the lives of both Robert E. Lee and George Washington.
“Certainly we’re following the tragedies and related issues that are unfolding close to home and beyond. At this particular time we believe our school communities expect us to remain focused on a smooth and successful start to the school year. And that’s what we want, too,” Henrico Public Schools wrote in a statement to WTVR.
“We want our students to get to school safely and on time. We want students to have nutritious choices for breakfast and lunch. And we want students and their families to begin forming meaningful relationships with teachers and school staff as the academic year gets underway. To do all this takes a tremendous amount of planning, teamwork, and focus.”
It was a similar story in Hanover County, home of the Stonewall Jackson Middle School Rebels and the Lee-Davis High School Confederates.
“Although we are not aware of any broad discussions or movements within the community to change the names of the schools, our board members have received a very limited number of thoughtful responses concerning this matter,” Hanover officials wrote. “As always, we will continue to be open to and carefully consider any thoughts, comments, or concerns we receive from the community.”
Meanwhile, as police continue to investigate the violent incidents last weekend, social justice advocate teachers have already come to their own conclusions and crafted lessons for the new school year to promote their agenda that they’re now sharing widely online, EAGnews reports.