The Alexandria City School Board voted to change the names of T.C. Williams High School and an elementary school, according to a press release from the school district.
T.C. Williams High School’s name has been the subject of debate for years, but “this summer’s civil unrest brought the matter to the forefront once more,” according to the press release. After hearing from the community, the superintendent will submit recommendations for the new names to the School Board in April.
“This is a historic moment. Thanks to the methodical and strategic process we undertook with The Identity Project, our community is more aware than ever before of why combating inequities is so fundamental to ensuring change,” School Board Chair Cindy Anderson said on Monday following the decision, according to the press release.
“Today’s vote is a symbolic step in the right direction, but we still have much work to do to see Equity for All as outlined in our ACPS 2025 Strategic Plan,” Anderson said, according to the press release.
The high school’s namesake, former Superintendent Thomas Chambliss Williams, was against Brown v. Board of Education and desegregation, Deadline reported. Williams believed in segregating black and white students since black students “learned differently” than white students. (RELATED: Fairfax County School Board Votes To Rename Robert E Lee High School After The Late Rep John Lewis)
The names will be changed next July 1 and the school system’s Identity Project wants to work with the community to find new names for the schools, the press release said.
The board also voted to change Matthew Maury Elementary School’s name.
Maury was an oceanographer who fought with the Confederacy and urged them to relocate to Mexico after the Civil War, the press release said. Maury had “attempted to negotiate a slave trade with Brazil,” according to the school district.
Alexandria City School Board votes in favor of changing the names of T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School https://t.co/mJaAd4WkpQ
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) November 24, 2020
Renaming the high school will cost approximately $325,000 and changing the name of the elementary school will cost “just over $5,000,” the press release said. In a survey with over 3,000 participants, three-quarters supported changing the name of the high school and 72% supported renaming the elementary school.
A petition that circulated in June to rename the high school gathered over 100 signatures, triggering the board’s consideration, the press release said.
The Alexandria City Public School Board didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment.
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