LCPS to Rename Schools/Facilities Based On Phony “1619” Narrative

White that idiot governor Northam may have signed the order, make no mistake that the radical black supremacist group NAACP has their corrupt and racist hands all of this.

Agenda Item Details

Meeting Nov 09, 2021 – 2nd Tuesday School Board Meeting 4:00 p.m. Category Information Items Subject Department of Support Services: School Name Review Type Information 

SUMMARY: 

In June 2020, the Loudoun County School Board initiated discussion on an action plan to combat systemic racism. Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) staff began a school by school name review as part of the action. 

Further, on July 6, 2020, Governor Northam called on Virginia’s school boards to “evaluate the history behind school names” with a focus to “change school names and mascots that memorialize Confederate leaders or sympathizers.” 

Over the last several years, LCPS has contracted with History Matters, LLC to research school name recommendations put forth to the School Board by appointed naming committees (e.g., Elaine E. Thompson Elementary School, Hovatter Elementary School, The North Star School). LCPS is again working with History Matters with this comprehensive school name review process. History Matters is reviewing all school names except those previously researched with an LCPS naming process and/or other historical evaluation. 

History Matters is using both primary and secondary sources to research people and place names. Primary research material includes information in History Matters’ archives as well as local and state depositories such as the Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg, Virginia, and the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. LCPS archives are being accessed (e.g., School Board meeting minutes). Credible online resources are also utilized.

The following criteria have been set forth by and with History Matters to conduct a name review of Loudoun’s public schools:

  • Review the names of LCPS facilities to determine if any are named for Confederate leaders or the Confederate cause. The Confederacy or the Confederate States of America consisted of 11 southern states, including Virginia, which seceded from the United States soon after the election of Abraham Lincoln to the U.S. presidency in November 1860. It existed until April 1865, when its military was defeated by the U.S. military after four years of civil war.
  • Review the names of LCPS facilities that may be named for individuals who lived in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries during the period of time when slavery was a fundamental part of the economic, cultural and political systems in Virginia and Northern Virginia. Stated views and actions will be reviewed with respect to the institution of slavery. Slavery existed in Virginia between 1619, with the arrival of 22 enslaved persons from Africa to Jamestown, until 1865 when the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.
  • Review the names of LCPS facilities to determine whether any were named for individuals or movements that promoted and implemented racial segregation laws in Virginia during the eras of Jim Crow and Massive Resistance in Virginia. 
    • For purpose of this review, History Matters defines the Jim Crow period to have taken place between 1896 and 1965. It began nationally in 1896 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that government-imposed racial segregation was legal, provided that the facilities for each race were equal, and formally in Virginia in 1902 when the Virginia General Assembly passed a new constitution that mandated segregation by race in public schools and public accommodations. The formal Jim Crow era did not end until the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.
    • For purpose of this review, History Matters defines the Massive Resistance period to be between 1954 and 1959. It was in reaction to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. This decision reversed the Court’s 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. In 1956, conservative white Virginians, led by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr., developed a coordinated strategy of “Massive Resistance” to defend racial segregation laws in general and to oppose the integration of public schools in particular . As part of this strategy, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law that empowered the governor to close schools if the federal courts ordered their integration. By December 1956, Virginia had instituted a Pupil Placement Board that took the responsibility for public school assignments away from local governments in order to ensure that no Virginia public schools desegregated. In September 1958, the Virginia government closed several public schools after federal courts ordered them to integrate. It was not until early 1959 that then Virginia governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. acquiesced to both the Virginia and federal courts and formally ended the state government’s Massive Resistance policy.

Loudoun does not have any public schools named after Confederate leaders or for the Confederate cause. Several school names honor deceased individuals who significantly contributed to improving life in LCPS, Loudoun County, Virginia, or the nation (e.g., Banneker Elementary, Frederick Douglass Elementary, J. Lupton Simpson Middle, Kenneth W. Culbert Elementary). Several schools reflect a place name association with a Loudoun town or village, a community in which the school is sited, or other geographic location (e.g., Leesburg Elementary, Sugarland Elementary, Brambleton Middle, Sterling Middle, Potomac Falls High). Other schools share a name with former one-room schools (e.g., Cool Spring, Sycolin, Willard). 

The school name review is being conducted in three phases to facilitate a more focused approach. Schools identified for review in Phase 1 were those that might have a potential association with the research criterion. Phase 2 included schools named after a person. Phase 3 includes all other schools, many of which have been named for places, ideals or inanimate objects. The multi-phased review process will conclude in early 2022.

At present, History Matters has provided written narrative for the nineteen (19) school names included in the first two review phases. Phase 3 is ongoing. 

To facilitate the review of History Matters’ research, LCPS staff is proposing that the School Board collaborate with the Black History Committee, Friends of Thomas Balch Library (Black History Committee) for their insight on History Matters’ Phase 1 and Phase 2 school name narratives – including recommendations from the committee for potential renaming processes for any of the identified schools. The Phase 1 and 2 review by the Black History Committee would be ongoing as the Phase 3 name research by History Matters concludes.

Members of the Black History Committee have served on numerous school naming committees. The insight and perspective of the committee would be welcome in the review of LCPS facility names and further serve the action plan of the School Board to combat systemic racism.

Unless otherwise directed, this item will be brought back to the School Board as an Action Item on November 30, 2021. The recommendation for action will be as follows: 

That the Loudoun County School Board collaborate with the Black History Committee, Friends of Thomas Balch Library, for the review of Loudoun County Public Schools facility names and narratives prepared by History Matters, LLC. – including recommendation for the potential renaming of any school in relation to the School Board’s action plan to combat systemic racism.

Staff Reference: Beverly I. Tate

Staff Telephone: 571-252-1050

Staff Reference: Kevin L. Lewis

Staff Telephone: 571-252-1385