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Virginia school board considers restoring Confederate names to schools

Virginia's Shenandoah County School Board Thursday will consider restoring Confederate names to two schools. A right-wing group wants the names restored to honor the "heritage" of Confederate slavery. The NAACP said white supremacist ideals should not be memorialized. Pictured is the dismantling of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statute in Richmond, Virginia on September 8, 2021. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
Virginia's Shenandoah County School Board Thursday will consider restoring Confederate names to two schools. A right-wing group wants the names restored to honor the "heritage" of Confederate slavery. The NAACP said white supremacist ideals should not be memorialized. Pictured is the dismantling of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statute in Richmond, Virginia on September 8, 2021. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

May 9 (UPI) -- On Thursday, Virginia's Shenandoah County School Board was scheduled to consider reinstating Confederate leader names on two schools from which the names had been removed in 2021.

The board removed the names Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby-Lee Elementary School to rename those schools Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School.

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A right-wing coalition called the Coalition for Better Schools is behind the efforts to restore Confederate names. They tried in 2022, and the board deadlocked 3-3, which defeated the attempt.

The Virginia NAACP said in a statement it condemns all efforts to retain or add the names or images of Confederate leaders to public property.

"Military leaders of the Confederate States of America took up arms against the United States of America and fought to preserve and expand the peculiar institution of slavery," the NAAAC statement said. "These hateful, white supremacist ideals should not be memorialized anywhere the public -- which includes descendants of enslaved Africans -- is required to support financially."

In a letter to the school board the Coalition for Better Schools wrote, "We believe that revisiting this decision is essential to honor our community's heritage and respect the wishes of the majority."

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According to the Confederate States of America secession declaration spelling out the reasons for leaving the union and starting the Civil War, that confederate "heritage" included enslaving African-Americans.

"A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery," that Confederate founding document said. "They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection."

According to a Shenandoah County School Board agenda, there was "consensus from School Board members to add" the item on restoring Confederate school names to the agenda.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations joined the NAACP in opposing the Coalition for Better Schools honoring of confederate "heritage."

"It is disturbing that anyone would seek to have their children attend a school named after traitors who sought to divide our nation in support of slavery and white supremacy," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper in a statement. "We call on school board members to reject this renewed attempt to honor the ugly legacy of the Confederacy."

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