A unanimous vote from the Falls Church, Virginia, school board on Tuesday officially declared that Thomas Jefferson Elementary School and George Mason High School would have their names changed due to concerns over racial justice.
The push to change the names of the schools named after the prominent Virginian founding fathers began this summer following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
A community survey was conducted in October of this year, asking the public to share their opinions on the possibility of renaming the schools. Nearly 60% of the respondents opposed abandoning the names of Jefferson and Mason, with most pointing out that slavery "was a norm at the time" and that the district had more pressing issues to address with their resources.
In the end, the school board decided to side with the minority of respondents.
"The Board took seriously the viewpoints and concerns raised by many students, parents, staff, and community members," School Board Chairman Greg Anderson said following the vote. "We thank everyone who shared their perspectives with us and will be mindful of your comments as we now begin selecting names that reflect the diversity of opinions in our community. Our schools must be places where all students, staff, and community members feel safe, supported, and inspired."