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Virginia school district votes to rename Thomas Jefferson, George Mason schools




The board of a Virginia school district voted on Tuesday in favor of renaming two schools, both named after two United States founding fathers from Virginia, saying, “Our schools must be places where all students, staff, and community members feel safe, supported, and inspired.”

The Falls Church School Board voted unanimously to change the names of two of its constituent schools, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and George Mason High School.

According to a press release from Falls Church City Public Schools (FCCPS), the vote followed a six-month-long process, which consisted of hours of public hearings, hundreds of submitted written public comments, and a survey of the community to inform the board’s decision.

“The Board took seriously the viewpoints and concerns raised by many students, parents, staff, and community members,” said School Board Chair Greg Anderson.

“We thank everyone who shared their perspectives with us and will be mindful of your comments as we now begin selecting names that reflect the diversity of opinions in our community,” he added. “Our schools must be places where all students, staff, and community members feel safe, supported, and inspired.”

The renaming process will follow the guidelines outlined in the FCCPS Regulation FFA-R School Building Names Committee, the press release explains. The superintendent will accept individuals’ nominations to sit on an “Advisory Study Committee” to the school board for each school name. Following which, the committees will recommend five names to the school board.

At an upcoming meeting, the board will announce the timeline for the work.

This move by the school board comes amid a growing movement in recent years to remove statues and public displays honoring certain U.S. historical figures who held racist views or engaged in racist practices, especially those who had owned slaves or fought in the Civil War for the Confederate States.

In a significant example, Princeton University changed the name of one of its schools that had been named after World War I-era President Woodrow Wilson, who held views considered racist by the standards of his time, once hosting a screening of the pro-Ku Klux Klan film Birth of A Nation (1915) at the White House, the first film to ever have been screened at the president’s residence.

It is worth noting that another component of this movement seeks to remove Confederate symbols from public use. This has led to many public statues of Confederate figures being removed and to Mississippi this year changing its state flag to a new one that does not contain the racist Confederate Battle Flag.

Countless schools, institutions, and places have been named after Jefferson over the course of the country’s history, being one of the most popular U.S. historical figures who people name things after. It was the Declaration of Independence’s author who founded the prestigious University of Virginia, where his legacy is still predominates the campus near his Monticello home and plantation.

Notably, Mason is the namesake of the renown George Mason University in Virginia’s Fairfax County.

When it comes to the debate about the legacy of Jefferson and other slave-owning founding fathers, advocates for changing names and public statues argue that slavery should be enough to warrant those changes while those on the other side defending such naming and statues argue that removing history will mean younger generations won’t learn from it.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Washington D.C. Spends Hundreds of Thousands on “Black Lives Matter” Street Art Amidst Soaring Crime Rates



United States Congress

The Washington, D.C., government has reportedly spent $271,231 refurbishing the “Black Lives Matter” street mural in the city, drawing criticism as crime rates surge. The infamous mural, initially painted by Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser in June 2020 during BLM protests, saw taxpayer funds allocated for its recent touch-up, including $217,680 in labor costs and $53,551 in paint supplies, according to reports from Fox News.

In a startling revelation, documents obtained by Judicial Watch have exposed the exorbitant expenses tied to Washington, D.C.’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ street mural refurbishment. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton didn’t mince words, slamming city leaders for what he deemed the ‘waste’ of $270,000 in taxpayer money. The controversy unfolds as crime in the city skyrockets, prompting questions about priorities.

The city’s choice of D.C.-based vendor Equus Striping for the mural project raises eyebrows, especially considering the questionable allocation of funds. The company documented the mural’s makeover on its Facebook page, showcasing the process from preparation to completion. What adds fuel to the fire is that this project took shape against the backdrop of D.C. cutting millions from its police budget since 2020, resulting in a staggering reduction of 400 officers from three years prior.

As crime rates surge in the nation’s capital, a fierce battle ensues between Congress and the D.C. Council over crime proposals. Democratic D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson attempts to downplay the crisis, but stark statistics tell a different story.

Homicides spike by 34%, robberies soar by 68%, motor vehicle theft skyrockets by 93%, and arson flames up by a shocking 125%, all by November 28, 2022. The overall surge in violent crime stands at a disconcerting 40%, with a 27% increase in total crime compared to the same period last year.

Amidst the grim numbers, Councilmember Trayon White Sr. breaks ranks with a call to declare an emergency and possibly deploy the National Guard to quell the rising crime wave. The ongoing clash highlights the intricate challenges faced by D.C. leaders, juggling public safety concerns, resource allocation, and the well-being of the community.

In the midst of escalating crime, the allocation of funds to a mural raises questions about the city’s commitment to genuine solutions and the safety of its residents.

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