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Virginia District to Rename Schools Named After Founding Fathers

An elementary-school classroom during the pandemic / Getty Images

A Virginia school board voted Wednesday to change the names of two public schools named after one of the first presidents and another Founding Father because both men owned slaves, NBC4 Washington reported.

Falls Church City Public Schools will rename Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and George Mason High School following a unanimous vote to approve the measure Wednesday. While the majority of community members opposed renaming the schools, board chairman Greg Anderson said the change was "in the best interest" of students and "a necessary part of our equity work."

"Our schools must be places where all students, staff, and community members feel safe, supported, and inspired," Anderson said.

The school board conducted a survey to vet the community's interest in changing the schools' names. Only 26 percent of the nearly 3,500 parents, students, and staff members surveyed supported renaming the George Mason school, and only 23 percent supported renaming the Thomas Jefferson school. By contrast, 56 percent opposed renaming both schools.

Buildings named after presidents and Founding Fathers became the target of leftist attacks this year, which saw months of often violent racial-justice protests. Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser (D.) created a commission this summer to rename dozens of structures in the nation's capital, including federal monuments and buildings in addition to local public schools. Denver public schools have also floated the idea of renaming buildings.

On the university level, BerkeleyGeorgetown, and Harvard have all recently announced that they were dropping problematic building names.