NAACP sues Hanover over Confederate school names

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- The Hanover County NAACP has filed a lawsuit against Hanover County and county's school board over its use of Confederate names and imagery at both Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

The use of Confederate names and images "creates a school environment that denies students of color an equal opportunity to an education and violates their right to Equal Protection under the Fourteenth Amendment," the lawsuit alleged.

At a time when other schools in Virginia have changed their Confederate-focused names, Hanover County voted in 2018, to keep the names Lee-Davis (so named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee and president Jefferson Davis) and Stonewall Jackson.

Hanover school leaders said they came to that conclusion after survey results revealed a majority in the county were against a name change.

"When African-American students are compelled to attend schools that glorify the leaders and ideals of the Confederacy, they experience racial harassment that has significant psychological, academic, and social effects," the NAACP lawsuit continued. "When African-American students are required to identify as 'Confederates' or 'Rebels' in order to participate in school activities, they are required to endorse the violent defense of slavery pursued by the Confederacy and the symbolism that these images have in the modern white supremacist movement."

The Hanover County NAACP has asked the United States District Court Eastern District of Virginia to consider its case.

When asked for a response to the lawsuit, Hanover County spokesperson Tom Harris and Hanover County School Board Chairman Roger Bourassa said the county could not comment on pending litigation.

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