Virginia School Named for Confederate General Renamed Justice High

"We're just not glorifying him by having the school named after him," one student said

A Virginia high school named for a Confederate general will be renamed Justice High School.

The Fairfax County School Board voted to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School Thursday night after nearly four hours of debate and community testimony.

Just before midnight, the board approved the name Justice High School on a 7-4 vote. One board member abstained from voting.

"We are doing the right thing by changing the name to one that reflects and celebrates values we hold dear," board member Sandy Evans said.

Student Max Knight said he was pleased by the decision.

"You don't learn history by looking at the name of a school. You learn from textbooks and museums. So, we're not erasing [the history] in that way, we're just not glorifying him by having the school named after him," Knight said.

Others objected to the decision. 

"I just think that this is all theater. Fairfax County taxpayers, you need to know that you're paying for this. It is not a racial issue at all, it is not a name issue at all. It is a process issue," one resident said. 

James Ewell Brown Stuart was a Confederate general and cavalry commander who was sent by Robert E. Lee to crush abolitionist John Brown's 1859 slave revolt at Harpers Ferry.

The official name change process will begin in December, and is set to take effect by fall of 2019. It could cost the school between $500,000 and $1 million for expenses including changing sports uniforms and band uniforms. 

In July, the board voted in favor of dropping the school's name, but didn't have a replacement.

A nonbinding community vote came up with five alternatives. One choice was to simply remove "J.E.B.'' and call the school Stuart High. Another choice, former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, conflicted with a nearby school named for statesman George C. Marshall.

Contact Us