Hanover Schools delays decision on new names of schools that reference Confederate leaders

School board hesitant over recommended school names

HANOVER Co., Va. (WWBT) - Those waiting to find out the new names of two new Hanover schools will have to wait a little longer. The school board was set to approve a committee’s recommendation to re-name Lee Davis High and Stonewall Jackson Middle - that’s until the public sounded off Wednesday night.

Many in Hanover County said they didn’t want to see their schools' names changed anyhow. But since it’s happening, the public is telling the board to at least consider their thoughts if the names have to be changed, so that’s what the board is doing.

At a school board meeting Wednesday, a committee of students and parents said they spent three weeks studying how to re-name the schools. They came up with the names Twin Rivers High to replace Lee Davis and Mechanicsville Middle to replace Stonewall Jackson. It appeared the board was set to vote on that at the meeting, but they listened to everyone who spoke out. Every public comment was against changing the names, especially to the ones proposed.

“The people of this county clearly stated they wanted Mechanicsville High School. If ya’ll haven’t seen the numbers, it’s not even close. This committee is going to come up and present this Twin Rivers stuff. I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve never once heard the term Twin Rivers. Everybody knows about Mechanicsville,” Chris Cray, who served on the committee, told the board.

“If you can’t fully fund classrooms in normal years, which is evident by the school supply and the Amazon wish list that the teachers put out, you certainly can’t fund it in COVID times. So why are we funding a school name change in this environment? Why?” parent Kimberly Thurston added.

“We’re the taxpayers. We ought to be listened to and valued on what we’re saying. That’s like if someone came to your house and re-arranged your house, then sent you the bill and you didn’t want it done,” another speaker said during public comment.

The name changes will happen because the board has already agreed to do so. Wednesday night, the board voted to take some $280,000 from a rainy day fund to help pay for re-painting, uniforms, and signs - all of which will be needed to change the names of both schools. They’re transferring money from different departments to come up with the $495,000 that’s needed in total.

A high school student asked the board to move forward quickly since she’s having a hard time applying for scholarships due to her school technically not having a name right now.

Hanover will re-visit this issue next month where they are expected to decide the two schools' fates.

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