An Alexandria, Virginia, school board might rename one of the country’s most well-known high schools after George Floyd.
T.C. Williams High School, the subject of the movie “Remember the Titans,” will be renamed because its namesake, Thomas Chambliss Williams, held segregationist views. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the plan to rename the school was approved by the Alexandria City Public Schools Board in November.
The school board also voted to rename Matthew Maury Elementary School, named for “an oceanographer who served in the Confederate Army, attempted to negotiate a slave trade with Brazil, and encouraged confederates to migrate to Mexico following the war,” according to a press release from the board.
“This is a historic moment. Thanks to the methodical and strategic process we undertook with The Identity Project, our community is more aware than ever before of why combatting inequities is so fundamental to ensuring change. Today’s vote is a symbolic step in the right direction, but we still have much work to do to see Equity for All as outlined in our ACPS 2025 Strategic Plan,” School Board Chair Cindy Anderson said following the November vote.
The board then asked students for suggestions for new names, which are now being voted on by the public.
Among the 50 possible names for T.C. Williams are “George Floyd Memorial High School,” “Ruth Bader Ginsburg High School,” “Kamala Harris High School,” and “Diversity High School.”
A popular suggestion made by multiple students was to simply rename the school “Alexandria City High School,” since it is vague and will remain non-controversial in the future.
“Haven’t we learned that history has different perspectives, that no person is without fault, and you can’t please everyone?” one student said when expressing support for the generic name.
A document on the school board’s website notes that it did not include feedback from students and parents who suggested keeping the names as they are, “due to the fact that the Alexandria City School Board has already voted to change the names.”
Possible names for Matthew Maury Elementary School include “Barack Obama Elementary School” and “Black Lives Matter Elementary School.”
Once polling is closed, the school board will use the feedback to vote on a new name. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Margaret Lorber, one of the board members, recently faced criticism after she suggested that reopening schools would kill children.
“Do you want your child to be alive or educated?” she said.
Alexandria, VA School Board member Margaret Lorber: “Do you want your child to be alive or educated? I think at this point in our lives, you know, you have to speak out and take a position.”pic.twitter.com/BWWbmqbrba
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) January 8, 2021
The board is expected to announce new names for both schools by July.