Letters to the Editor: School Should be Renamed For Barbara Rose Johns


Letters to the Editor: September 14 – 20, 2017


School Should be Renamed For Barbara Rose Johns


It would be great if the Falls Church News-Press would endorse a “Barbara Rose Johns High School” for our community.

At the community meeting Saturday, the great majority of participants, and all of the students and younger speakers, clearly favored a “Barbara Rose Johns High School.” If the vote had taken place on Saturday, I am confident that “Johns” would have been first choice.

People said they supported a “Johns High School” because Johns was a transformational figure in Virginia history. They also wanted to honor her because she was young, female and a person of color. They emphasized that a school named after Johns would inform and inspire other young people. Not a single speaker expressed any misgivings about a “Johns High School.”

The other contending names included “Marshall,” “Stuart,” “Peace Valley,” “Crossroads,” “Munson Hill” and “Mendez.” All of these names have serious drawbacks, however.

In an effort to circumvent the School Board regulation governing duplicative and confusing names, a few advocates for a “Thurgood Marshall High School” campaigned for a “Justice High School, “ to be known informally as “Justice Marshall High School.”

Some revanchist advocates for “J.E.B. Stuart High School,” the “Keepers,” hope to circumvent the School Board decision to rename our high school by voting for a “Stuart High School,” a distinction without a difference. Several “Stuart “supporters” said they would not vote for a person of color and that they will vote for a place name instead, such as “Munson Hill” or “Peace Valley.”

On this coming Saturday, households in the Stuart Attendance Area will be allowed to propose first, second and third choice names. Some of the supporters for a “Johns High School” did not seem to realize that second and third choice votes for place names, combined with the place name votes of the “Keepers,” could eliminate Johns as the frontrunner. (I will vote for “Johns” only.)

Some who oppose Johns, Marshall and Mendez, claim that schools named after people are controversial and divisive and want the County to stop naming schools after people, although Fairfax County already has seven high schools named after people. This cop-out could prevent Fairfax County from having its first high school named after a young woman, or person of color.

Ken Longmyer

Via the Internet


Oppose Supporters Of Unsustainable, Outdated Schools System


It is time for those of us who live and work in the 21st century to oppose those who seem determined to support an unsustainable outdated and costly school system born in the 1950s and nurtured by discrimination, elitism and perhaps fear! Read Ira Kaylin’s fact-filled report on the blog The Falls Church Post to see how clear and concise his points are. Compare this to the information by proponents of the referendum and see how their “facts” are exaggerated, vague and, at best, misleading! Example — a stated tax reduction — when is the last time we saw a reduction in any taxes? Point — at the meeting on Sept. 10 we were told that it was to be “an information only session,” not a for or against presentation. The material was presented as a marketing tool for the positive results of “yes” votes and the negative results of a “no” vote. The tone from both speakers was definitely in favor of “Yes for Falls Church.” I respect the efforts but not the “home team”delivery.

Reputable people familiar with financial projections clearly state it would take several times the acreage available for commercial businesses to raise enough revenue to support the building and maintenance of a new high school. If the school continues to devour a larger share of the pie (76 percent of the budget) then what happens to the rest of the city’s structure?

Aware and competent people see a problem developing and plan/organize actions so the option(s) are manageable rather than restrictive. A city’s officials (and editors) should represent their citizens’ concerns with equal consideration and focus for fiscal responsibility regardless of their personal views. Our leaders need to affect changes that will secure this city’s operational and financial futures and to better prepare our citizens and students for the challenges and diversity of the present and future! Which road are we going to travel in Falls Church?

John Boeddeker

Falls Church


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