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School Board to Address T.C. Renaming This Fall

The Alexandria School Board has received a petition from the community, and the topic of renaming T.C. Williams High School will be addressed this fall, according to Board Chair Cindy Anderson.

The school system will also be looking at the names of all of its facilities, however no future date has been set in stone as ACPS is focusing on its reopening plan, Anderson said.

“We will look at this in the fall, but we’ll also be looking more holistically at names of all of our facilities,” Anderson told ALXnow. “It doesn’t make sense to address one when there’s discussion in the community about other schools.”

Anderson would not discuss her opinion on the subject, but added, “I think we need to have a discussion about names just generally before we decide what kind of process we might want to consider.”

As previously reported, another effort is underway to send the Board a petition on renaming Matthew Maury Elementary School. Maury, the father of oceanography, was a special agent for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and tried to found a new colony in Mexico after the Union defeated the southern rebellion.

“First of all, we have to decide as a board whether we wanted to pursue it at this time,” Anderson said. “If the answer is yes, then we’d have to devise a process that includes robust public engagement.”

T.C. Williams, who was the superintendent of the city school system from the 1930s to the 1960s, was a segregationist who advocated against integration. More than 170 people signed the petition to rename the high school, which is the largest in Virginia, including Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Levine, City Councilman Canek Aguirre, Councilman John Taylor Chapman and Councilman Mo Seifeldein.

T.C. graduate Lindsey Woodson Vick is one of the leaders of the effort.

“We have unprecedented support from a variety of stakeholders and feel confident that with continued momentum through the summer the name will be changed this fall,” Vick said.

Marc Solomon organized the petition and was critical that ACPS did not address the issue sooner.

“While understandable given the reopening crisis, it’s just unfortunate that our school board wasn’t able to make this happen sooner like other districts have done,” he said.

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

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