Washington-Lee High School to be renamed Washington-Liberty

A Northern Virginia high school has a new name - the Arlington School Board voted Thursday night to drop Washington-Lee, named for Confederate general Robert E. Lee, in favor of Washington-Liberty.

The board had also been considering renaming the school Washington-Loving in honor of Mildred and Richard Loving. The Loving couple was from Virginia and is responsible for the state ending its law banning inter-racial marriage.

FOX 5's Josh Rosenthal said that of the 17 community members who spoke at the board meeting Thursday night, 12 people opposed any change at all.

Black Heritage Museum President Scott Taylor talked to FOX 5 earlier in the day.

"I am a believer that you don't tear history down, you build it up. You talk about it. You have a conversation. And if you erase it, there's no conversation," he said.

Ultimately, school board members said renaming the school is "the Arlington way."

Board member Monique O'Grady said

There may be some who will worry that by changing the name of our high school, we will lose our history. Rest assured, the history of Robert E. Lee will not be forgotten in Arlington public schools. It will continue to be part of our curriculum, and thus a topic for students to explore, debate, learn, and, yes, even be tested on. As for General Lee, amid the smoldering scars of the Civil War, he urged us to move forward and refrain from erecting symbols that might cause division. With our vote today, we do just that.

Although the board has approved the change, a group has filed a lawsuit over the name change previously. That suit has been thrown out, but the group could still appeal.