Board votes to change the name of Stonewall Jackson middle school

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The Kanawha County Board of Education has voted 5-0 to change the name of Stonewall Jackson middle school.

The vote was unanimous by a 5-0 margin. What the name of the school will be changed to has not been released yet. The change will come before classes start.

The effort to change the name of the school on Charleston’s West Side has been simmering for weeks as the ripple against statues, buildings and military bases named for Confederate figures sweeps across the country.

Charleston resident, Martec Washington says he believes the decision was the right one.

I don’t really care what they change the name to, it’s not important what they change the name to. It’s what we changed it from. This should be important to us all because if we’re not going to correct people and we’re not going to take a stand for stuff, then we’re never going to be able to move forward.

Martec Washington, Charleston resident

Some in the Charleston area believe the name is offensive because of Stonewall Jackson’s past of owning slaves. While others, like Ernest Blevins believe the name should have stayed.

I feel like we have an honorary name here for somebody and, for whatever reason, the school was named  for him.

Ernest Blevins, for keeping the name

Washington spoke with Blevins outside of the BOE building, but the two men say the conversation was very mild. Washington says that it was a “simple conversation” and Blevins says they were just “exchanging ideas and conversations.”

Those arguing the name should be changed filled the Kanawha County Board of Education meeting — and overflowed outside the building.

Dozens of people outside of the Kanawha County Board of Education in support of the name change.

Local educator, Dr. Gregg Suzanne Ferguson says the decision to change the name was long overdue.

West Virginians are always free and independent and having to assume the identity of the confederacy is really a tragedy for West Virginia. So, I’m glad that Kanawha County schools has come to the decision that it came to.

Dr. Gregg Suzanne Ferguson, local educator

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