Bristol, Virginia School Board member: Renaming schools “not a priority”

Virginia

BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — Bristol Virginia Public Schools board members reviewed the district’s school-naming policy Monday night following the nation-wide concern regarding Confederate monuments and public building names.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Perrigan told News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel that the board wanted to get ahead of the national discussion by reviewing the policy.

“Our board just saw the trend statewide, nationwide and just decided that they wanted to be proactive,” Perrigan said. “We have had informal discussions about potentially changing the names of some of our schools before; however, we are in the process of potentially consolidating our elementary schools, and the schools that are named after Confederate leaders would be closed under the consolidation plan.”>

Two schools within the district that face potential closures due to the consolidation plan — Stonewall Jackson Elementary and Washington-Lee Elementary — are named after Confederate generals.

School Board Chair Steve Fletcher said the board continues to focus on other tasks.

“They’re 50 years and 70 years old,” Fletcher said. “The money and expense to change a name — that’s really not an issue, thus it’s not a priority. We’ve got safety and cleanliness and transportation and space…those kind of issues with the COVID-19.”

The board reviewed the policy, and there was no vote Monday night to consider renaming the two elementary schools.

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