Prince William County to Go Ahead With Controversial School Name Change | NBC4 Washington

Prince William County to Go Ahead With Controversial School Name Change

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    News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports the Prince William County School Board made a final decision on what to name Godwin Middle School. (Published Wednesday, April 6, 2016)

    Prince William County school officials voted Wednesday night to go ahead with their decision to rename a middle school after an African-American community leader, News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports.

    Last month, the Prince William County school board voted to rename Godwin Middle School, in Dale City, Virginia, after Dr. George Hampton.

    The name change has received major criticism in recent weeks.

    Board members said renaming the middle school after Hampton was a good idea because former Virginia governor Mills Godwin was a segregationist. 

    Many residents came to the school board's meeting Wednesday to urge them to keep their decision before the vote.

    "You made the decision in this room. Stick with your decision and don't stir this county up," said one man to the board.

    "I urge the board to unanimously reject any motion to reconsider its vote, renaming the George M. Hampton Middle School for a segregationist," another man said.

    However, some teachers and students at the school disagreed and said a name change should never have been brought up to begin with.

    "No one gave a darn about Governor Godwin's character until there were two groups of people who wanted a name on a school and only one school to name," one woman said. "The whole ensuing debacle has been made into a black-white issue and it should not have been."

    Officials said community members remained respectful at the meeting.