No new names selected for Hanover County Public Schools with Confederate namesakes

Hanover County

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Hanover School Board did not decide on new names for its schools with Confederate namesakes at its Wednesday night meeting.

The schools formerly known as Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School, have been in the process of being renamed for the last few months.

School Board Chairman John Beaverdam said the board will look at different names along with the favorable Mechanicsville and ask the community again for their opinion. He said they need to be cautious and painstakingly detailed with their final decision.

“I think we take the time to vet this and really dig into it and really look hard at it because when we do this, because it is our responsibility and our decision, we’re hearing your concerns and therefore, we’re concerned,” Beaverdam said. “This is an extremely important thing we’re doing. The name is going up and it’s going to be part of the community for many, many, many years. It’s not something, I think, we need to rush.”

One student said the process is holding her back from receiving scholarships for college.

“I’m asking you to move it along. You’re wasting students futures,” a Hanover senior said.

Ahead of the meeting, the school renaming committee received more than 3,000 nominations and narrowed it down to the two new names. The committee, made up of community members, parents, and students, selected Twin Rivers for the high school and Mechanicsville for the middle school after receiving community input on its three finalists from August 28 through September 3.

School Board policy states schools cannot be named after any person, living or deceased, and lists geographic location, environmental features, and historical considerations as factors for consideration.

During the meeting, some suggested the high school being named Mechanicsville and working on finding the right middle school name.

However, many people spoke out against the potential new names during public comment.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ver never once heard the term Twin Rivers,” said a long time resident.

Another man at the meeting said everything the committee has done is pointless.

“In this county, I think we’re above 85% white as a community. It was only one white person. One white male out of 30 people,” he said. “This does not represent the county at all. You go any where else, you have to have designated representation of your county and that did not do it. The committee should be null and void with anything they’ve done should be disregarded.”

One citizen gave a speech in front of the School Board and said the former names are part of heritage and should just stay the same.

“A name is a name. And if it effects someone, it sounds more like a personal problem,” the man said.

“As a school board and as school administration, you failed us in the name changed us. Where’s the money coming from?” said another woman.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a budget amendment. They estimate the school name changes could cost about $495,000:

  • Athletics (uniforms, equipment bags, etc) – $203,483
  • Signage – exterior (marquee, scoreboard, etc) – $38,000
  • Materials & supplies (lanyards, spirit wear, etc) – $33,179
  • Facility & interior signage (signs, plaque, paint, scoreboard) – $175,350
  • Contingency (10%) – 44,988

$280,000 of that will come from the school district’s general fund contingency fund.

The School Board will continue this conversation during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Once the board has chosen new school names, new mascots will also be selected. That is a school-based decision and more information about the mascot selection process will be shared with the community as it becomes available.

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