Falls Church school board changing 2 school names linked to slavery

The Falls Church school board has voted unanimously in favor of changing the names of two schools with names linked to slavery – despite surveys indicating that the community was split on whether the changes should be made.

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On Tuesday night, the board voted 7-0 to drop the names of George Mason High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

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A survey the district conducted found that 56 percent of the respondents wanted the names to remain.

According to the survey, 61 percent of the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School parents, and 57 percent of the parents in the George Mason High School community want the names to remain the same.

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The district countered that the minority respondents had a very different case, noting that those people represented the voices of those most negatively impacted by racist institutions.

The board began considering the changes over the summer amid racial justice protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Next week on Dec. 15, an advisory committee will present five possible new names to the school board.