At a lengthy online work session tonight that began with 87 public comments, the Falls Church School Board agreed by consensus to move forward with a process to consider whether or not to change the names of two of its schools, George Mason High and Thomas Jefferson Elementary, on grounds that the Founding Fathers the schools are currently named for both owned slaves.
The step will involve retaining a consultant to begin gathering information.
It may not be until Thanksgiving that a decision will be reached on whether or not to change one or both of the names, and then, based on that decision, what the new name or names of the schools will be.
In the case of George Mason, a new $120 million campus is well into construction, and is expected to be available for occupancy next January.
The school board’s decision tonight comes in the context of name change efforts in surrounding school jurisdictions, with changes having already removed the names of Confederate generals in Fairfax and Arlington schools.
Falls Church’s move, however, is the only one so far that could impact the names of Founding Fathers rather than Confederates who declared war on the United States.