Rolling Out

Virginia NAACP files lawsuit against school for reinstating Confederate names

Shenandoah County School Board reverts schools’ names in controversial vote
Confederate flag
Confederate flag Photo credit: / Maxim Studio

The Virginia NAACP has initiated a federal lawsuit against the Shenandoah County School Board for their decision to reinstate Confederate military names to two local schools, a move seen as an endorsement of segregationist values and a racially discriminatory educational environment.

Reversal of 2020 decision amidst racial injustice protests

In a controversial vote, the school board changed Mountain View High School back to Stonewall Jackson High School and Honey Run Elementary to Ashby Lee Elementary. This action reversed a previous 2020 decision made during nationwide protests over racial injustice.

Impact on students and allegations of constitutional violations

The lawsuit emphasizes the negative impact on Black students, who make up less than 3% of the school system’s population, and includes plaintiffs from diverse racial backgrounds. It argues that students are being forced to endorse the Confederacy’s defense of slavery and that the Confederate names and symbols represent hatred and white supremacy.

Furthermore, the NAACP asserts that the Confederate school names infringe upon the students’ First Amendment rights by compelling them to express views they disagree with and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by promoting racial discrimination in state-supported institutions.

Community sentiment and school board’s stance

The school board members who voted for the name restoration claim to represent community sentiment and accuse the previous board of disregarding constituents and due process. However, the decision has been met with mixed reactions from the community, with some residents expressing that the move disrespects minority students and others defending the historical significance of the Confederate names.

National trend and local political shifts

Despite the local decision, the national trend continues to lean towards the removal of Confederate names and memorials. Notable actions include the renaming of Army installations and the removal of a Confederate memorial from Arlington National Cemetery. Shenandoah County’s political landscape has shifted towards a conservative majority, which has influenced the school board’s composition and decisions.

The NAACP’s legal challenge is a significant development in the ongoing national conversation about the legacy of the Confederacy and its place in modern American society, particularly in educational settings.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out