HANOVER NAACP STATEMENT ON THE SCHOOL BOARD’S DECISION TO RETURN CONFEDERATE NAMES TO SCHOOL BUILDINGS
The Hanover County NAACP is appalled by the Hanover County School Board’s apparent about-face on removing Confederate names from Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School. The announcement today that the School Board has directed school staff to reinstall signs bearing Confederate names undermines our confidence in the School Board’s commitment to bringing the community together.
We had been encouraged when, just weeks ago, a majority of the School Board voted to change the names, and the names were removed from the schools. The Hanover County NAACP, and the broader community, were hopeful that by the start of the new school year, students would finally be able to attend schools that did not glorify a deeply prejudiced past. We were hopeful the community could proceed on a path toward justice, reconciliation, and healing.
Instead, the School Board has apparently succumbed to pressure from the Hanover County Board of Supervisors, members of which have declared their intention to reverse the name change. Reinstalling the Confederate names at the schools just one month before the start of the school year reflects an ongoing hostility to African American students and is antithetical to the values of morality and equality. The School Board claims to be committed to creating an environment that is safe and supportive of all students. During a time when the nation is confronting the consequences of racial inequity, reinstalling names that were adopted for the stated purpose of honoring and celebrating the Confederacy is unconscionable.
On the basis of the vote to change the name, the Hanover County NAACP voluntarily delayed pursuit of the constitutional claims it brought on behalf of its members in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. We will delay no longer. We regret that the School Board has decided to waste addition taxpayer funds clinging to the past rather than helping students move forward. We remain confident in the strength of our legal case and the righteousness of the cause and will pursue all legal options to ensure the name change happens without delay.
Submitted by Robert N. Barnette Jr., Hanover County President For more information please contact, Robert Barnette (804) 647-7087, [email protected]