Fairfax County School Board Votes to Rename School John R. Lewis High School
Unanimous Board Decision Honors Civil Rights Leader
The Fairfax County School Board voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School after the late U.S. Congressman John R. Lewis at its business meeting on July 23. The new name will be effective for the 2020-21 school year.
The Board voted to change the name of the school on June 23. Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand submitted his recommendations for a new name for the school as new business at the same meeting. Dr. Brabrand’s recommendations included the following:
John Lewis (U.S. Congressman); Barack Obama; Mildred Loving; Cesar Chavez; Legacy; and Central Springfield.
A one-month period of public comment was initiated to collect input on possible new names. A virtual town hall meeting was held on July 15 and a public hearing was held on July 22.
Community members worked work virtually in breakout rooms to discuss the recommendation and provide their thoughts on whether they support any of the recommended names or if they have another name they prefer for the school.
Feedback on Proposed Name ChangeComments submitted via email
Process TimelineDates for community meetings, public hearings, and School Board schedule
Community Engagement on the Proposal to Change the Name
Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has resumed the community engagement process on the proposal to rename Lee High School. The process was put on hold once the Governor ordered schools closed for the remainder of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A School Board Public Hearing was held on Monday, June 22, 2020 at 4 p.m.
The public hearing was held virtually to adhere to public health guidelines which recommend social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, June 23, the School Board voted to change the name of the school at its regular business meeting. At the same meeting, the Superintendent brought forward his recommendation to the School Board on new names for the school as New Business.
Initial Community Engagement
Before schools were closed, FCPS held a community meeting on March 11 to collect community input on changing the name of the school. Participants were also invited to submit suggestions for a new name.
The community meeting format included information on the history of the school name and the process to collect community input. Community members were asked to write down their thoughts on whether the school should be renamed and suggestions for a new school if they supported changing the name. Feedback was collected in small groups. The feedback is posted online. It was also shared with the School Board and the Superintendent.
March 11 Community Meeting FeedbackCommunity members provided feedback on the proposal to change the name of Lee High School.
School Board Regulation Outlines Process for Renaming
In October 2019, the Fairfax County School Board revised the policy and regulation for naming and renaming school facilities.
School Policy 8170.7 states that “the School Board may consider a change in the name of an existing school or facility to ensure an inclusive, respectful learning environment as outlined in our adopted One Fairfax Policy or when the Board deems it appropriate.”
At the School Board Forum on February 6, 2020, School Board Member Tamara Derenak Kaufax and School Board Member-at-Large Karen Keys-Gamarra requested the School Board consider beginning the process to rename Robert E. Lee High School. The School Board indicated support for moving forward on the process to rename the school.