Officials at Falls Church in Washington on Tuesday voted to rename two schools named Thomas Jefferson and George Mason.
The Falls Church School Board unanimously decided to rename Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and George Mason High School.
The change of name of the school was followed by a summer of national social unrest following the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In October, the school board conducted a survey of nearly 3,500 members, staff, and students in the community. More than half of the respondents – 56 percent – opposed the name change.
Some survey participants mentioned his story as Mason and Jefferson as slaves, while others said students were marginalized and felt uncomfortable at the school named after them.
Those who opposed the change said that “names should not be changed on the basis of the possession of slaves George Mason and Thomas Jefferson, as was customary at the time,” and that the change would be a “waste” of school resources.
“The board took seriously the views and concerns raised by many students, parents, staff and members of the community,” Greg Anderson, the chairman of the school board, said in a statement issued after Tuesday’s vote. “We thank everyone who has shared their perspective with us and will pay attention to your comments as we begin to select names that reflect the diversity of opinions in our community. Our schools need to be places where all students, staff and community members feel safe, supported and inspired. “
Protests sparked by Floyd’s death in the custody of Mininnolis police and Taylor’s police shot in Louisville, Kyville earlier this year included a call for the removal of statues and monuments to a panel of historical figures, including Confederate leaders Christopher Columbus and others. Some have asked for the removal of statues of people in slavery, such as Jefferson and former President George Washington.
—Updated at 16:31