Letters to the Editor: December 31, 2015 – January 6, 2016
Stuart’s Mascot Should Be Changed Instead
The Fairfax County School Board’s unanimous vote to “OK School Name Changes” does not simply reflect innovation to the school system’s naming policy; it affirmed the primacy of education institutions in crafting the civic narrative. While name-changing is one way to accomplish this, it is not the public school’s name that requires amendment; rather, the School Board ought to amend the high school’s public identity: a raider.
A citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, James Euell Brown Stuart participated in the American Civil War as a Confederate States Army general. Virginia’s pursuit to secure its sovereignty is a tradition that is traced to the 1777 Articles of Confederation, the pre-cursor to the 1788 Constitution of the United States, and before that, the Iroquois Confederacy, the common council composed of clan and village chiefs from the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora.
Reconciling the civic narrative of J.E.B. Stuart and his legacy to Fairfax County and its school division begins with an examination of the high school’s mascot. Naming the school’s public identity after one who steals or loots precludes the skill and mastery that General Stuart brought to Virginia’s pursuit to secure its sovereignty. Even the push to rename the school after Thurgood Marshall is problematic; it posits the achievement gap as the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education.
In the Information Age, it is incumbent upon the Fairfax County School Board to preserve the civic narrative of J.E.B. Stuart as defender of “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” that Fairfax County enjoys.
Chris McDonald Jones
Via the Internet
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