Lawsuit seeks to delay renaming of Arlington's Washington-Lee High School
ARLINGTON, Va. - A lawsuit has been filed after Arlington County School Board voted unanimously to rename Washington-Lee High School, removing Robert E. Lee's name seeks to halt the process.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of several current students and their parents with support from a group of the school's alumni.
According to the lawsuit, the school board did not follow procedures in seeking public input or designing the new policy for guidelines on naming new schools and facilities.
The lawyer representing the students say the alumni supporters of the lawsuit believe the name should remain the same because of the history of fond memories the name represents for them.
William Johnson, a rising senior and plaintiff in the suit, says ultimately the group is seeking more time before a decision goes into effect.
"The injunction we hope will restart the process and make the school board follow what they said and have all the community involvement and have all the public hearings, committees all that so that both sides will be heard on the topic," he said.
Terron Sims, an education activist who spoke in support of the name change decision says it's impossible for him and others to look past what General Lee represents to some people.
"You're sending children to a school named after a man who if he had it his way would still have these children in bondage," Sims said.
Arlington County Schools has not responded to the lawsuit officially.
A spokesman did provide a statement to FOX 5, reading in part:
"We do believe the decision made by the School Board in June to revise the Naming of Facilities policy and, as a result of that policy change, to direct staff to begin a process to rename Washington-Lee High School was appropriate."
The spokesman said the school district would respond fully during the legal process.
The new name for the high school has not yet been selected but is set to go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year.