‘Woke’ School District Aims to Rename 10 ‘Problematic’ School Names and Replace Mascots on the Taxpayer’s Dime

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Jun 14, 2024

A school board in Loudoun County, Virginia, has been called woke after it announced its decision to rename ten of its schools that have been named after problematic people, places or ideas somehow linked to slavery. 

While some people were already outraged by this, they became even more outraged when it was announced that the renaming of these schools would cost the taxpayer $25 million. 

Schools Are Becoming Too Woke

Many people are now of the belief that schools are becoming too woke. Some parents even believe that “woke education” is causing their children to become illiterate and unable to achieve the grades they should be.

A classroom with children sitting around desks and the teacher standing at the front next to a whiteboard.

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This supposedly started with the Woke Kindergarten program, which integrates politics into teaching. This has a left-wing political agenda that is anti-police, anti-capitalism and anti-Israel, which has reportedly been impacting students’ learning. 


Wokeness Is Causing a Generational Divide

With wokeness seemingly spreading across the nation, it is causing generational divides. While younger people are often all for it, older people would prefer things to stay as they always have been and have a distaste for all things woke.

A black and white photo of a baby’s hand on an old person’s hand with a white line drawn diagonally down the middle.

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This is even affecting people’s political stance. While in previous years, young people would start out liberal and become conservative, young people are now becoming increasingly liberal and older people are becoming increasingly conservative.

Renaming Schools Will Cost $25 Million

Renaming schools may seem like a simple task; however, as the changes will need to be made to websites, the school logo and other areas, it will come at the costly price of $25 million and is set to be covered by the taxpayer.

A pile of $100 notes.

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This money could be spent on what some would call more important things. These include paying teachers’ wages, buying school supplies and funding in-classroom instruction. 

The Naming Process Has Been Ongoing for 4 Years

This isn’t a recent issue, as the issue with school names first came up four years ago. In that time, no names have been changed, and it is unknown whether any new names have been suggested.

A classroom of children sitting at a desk looking at books and coloring.

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Meetings within the school board are ongoing and expected to continue for at least a few months. The only name change was to the mascot at Loudoun County High School, which was changed from Raiders to Captains. 

History Matters Has Been Looking Into School Names

The group History Matters was appointed in 2020 to investigate and research various school names to determine whether any schools had been named after problematic people and events throughout history.

A classroom of children sitting on the floor, with the teacher at the front, surrounded by children.

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In the years since, the group has identified a list of ten different schools in the Loudoun school district that have these links and has recommended to have their names changed. 


Schools Affiliated With the Confederate Cause

One of the areas the group looked into was schools that were named after people who were involved with the Confederate cause during the American Civil War.

The Confederate battle flag. The flag has a red background with blue and white stripes in a cross and white stars along the blue stripes.

Source: William Porcher Miles/Wikimedia Commons

These are Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School, Mercer Middle School and Emerick Elementary School. Some of these were also named after people who held positions of power during Jim Crow. Ball’s Bluff Elementary School is also on the list, as it was named after a battle won by the Confederate army. 


Schools Affiliated With Slavery

The other group that schools were sorted into was schools that were named after people who were affiliated with slavery. One school that is potentially included in that group is John Champe High School, which is named after a soldier in the Revolutionary War and is being investigated to see if he was involved in slavery.

A painting of slavery. Slaves collecting the crops while being overseen by men on horseback.

Source: British Library/Unsplash

The schools that are definitely named after those involved with slavery are Belmont Ridge Middle School, Belmont Station Elementary School, Seldens Landing Elementary School, Sully Elementary School and Hutchison Farm Elementary School. 


The Overall Individual Should Be Looked Into

Jeff Morse, the school board chairman, has said that he believes the entire individual’s history should be looked into and the other contributions they made, as opposed to just deciding to rename the school because they were involved in slavery or the Confederacy in some way.

A portrait painting of George Washington with a scroll in his hand.

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He made reference to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, saying that he believes the entire careers of these two would be considered when considering a school named after them, as opposed to just the fact that they were slave owners. 


The Public Will Be Involved With the Renaming Process

This entire process will not happen suddenly overnight. It will likely take months before the process is finalized. The current estimation is that it will take 6-9 months in total.

A classroom with children sitting at desks and the teacher standing in front of the room in front of a whiteboard.

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The public will also be involved in these decisions. At some point, there will be a public engagement campaign, likely held in town halls. This will be the time for any thoughts and opinions on the matter to be raised. 


People Most Affected Should Have the Loudest Voice

Some people have suggested that the people most affected throughout history by the actions of these individuals and the places these schools are named after should have the loudest voices in these discussions.

A yellow school bus with “Use your voice” written in blue at the front.

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They should also be able to suggest how to balance out what those people and places did. And they could also suggest new names for the schools of people and places that have had a positive and unproblematic impact on history.


An Educational Moment for All

Some believe that the renaming of these schools can be seen as an educational moment for all. It enables people to learn about people from the past and what they have done, regardless of whether they were good or bad.

A sign shaped like a pencil on a white wall. The pencil is yellow, grey and purple, and it says “Love to learn” in black.

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However, others believe that renaming the schools will not help anyone and that these resources would be better spent on teaching materials for math and literacy — things that the children will actually need to help them succeed in life.