Feedback on Proposal to Change the Name of Mosby Woods Elementary School

Community Input on Name Change

Disclaimer:  The comments below published here do not necessarily reflect the views of Fairfax County residents. Because these comments went to a general email address, FCPS has no way of determining if the respondents reside in Fairfax County.

Emailed Comments

I support the Mosby Woods renaming because we don’t need to have painful reminders of Confederate soldiers here since it was a malicious naming of the school. I think it’s great the school board is voting to rename it. I believe we should rename the school either after L Douglas Wilder or Ruth Bader Ginsburg for their service to our country.

I am writing on the topic of new name ideas for the school Mosby Woods Elementary School. I go to Mosby Woods. I am in 3rd grade. I think the name should be changed. We need to rename it because Mosby was a Confederate guy who believed in slavery. We definitely didn’t need slavery because people are people. The owners should have worked the plantations themselves. Now we know slavery was a bad idea and we shouldn’t have something marked for someone who thought it was good. The school could be named after a place near it. It could be named after a famous African American. It might sound kind of silly but it could be named for a plant! Like Fairfax Oak Elementary School. Our motto is “Learn Give Thrive” I don’t think it quite matches up with John Mosby’s character.

I have a son (3rd grade) at Mosby Woods ES and my daughter will enter school there next year. I was thrilled to hear that Mr. Frisch and Ms. Keys-Gamarra had brought forth our school for renaming. It is past time that a school as vibrant, diverse and inclusive as Mosby Woods was rid of a name representing someone who abhorred the idea of freedom for all and took great efforts to inflict maximum pain, damage and death on those in this area. The history of schools and other public landmarks being named for Confederate leaders is well documented as a tactic of intimidation and White Supremacy. The fact that Mosby was a close friend/associate of JEB Stuart is another reason why MWES should follow Justice High School's lead and rename. If you ride the W&OD trail in Vienna, you will see a historical marker along the side of the trail. ( Unlike most it is set back and up higher than most. When you get close to read it, it is not hard to guess that this was done deliberately to keep young children from being able to read it independently. It tells the story of Rev. John Read, an outspoken abolitionist and Union supporter who also ran a school for the local Black population and served those who had been enslaved and made their way to the area. He was captured by Mosby and his Raiders and taken to the woods near that spot and shot in the head at close range. How can we look our children in the eye, telling them that FCPS is committed to  the idea that "Our diversity is a strength that creates resilient, open, and innovative global citizens." and yet send them to a school named after someone who told a Rev. Read to "confine his activities to church business or face dire consequences." I have no doubt that there will be loud voices claiming that you are "erasing history" by changing the school. They are lying. No one will forget what happened during the Civil War and its aftermath, and schools do not have to be given a name glorifying brutality and racism. Show all the children at MWES that you do care for them as individuals and lead by example by changing the name.

Recommend Chadwick Boseman Elementary School. He embodied strength and perserverance during one of the most difficult and challenging times of his life and did it with pride and humility. All qualities Fairfax County Public Schools instill in our children.   

We do not memorialize every bit of our heritage - only those aspects we wish to reflect our values. Those aspects we want our children to learn about and emulate. Those which we want others to meditate upon as reflective of our shared community values. Though some would claim that we never want to “erase” our national history, we name schools not to reflect our history, but to reflect our values. Given that the cause Col. John S. Mosby took up arms for no longer reflects the values we want our children to share, I ask the Board to consider renaming Mosby Woods Elementary School in a manner that reflects our desired current and future values as a community of empathy, of diversity, of civic participation, and of patriotism.

I wanted to write and express my opposition to the proposed name change of Mosby Woods elementary school. I have lived across the road from the school for 21 years, have a daughter that attended K-6 at the school plus have many friends in the Mosby Woods neighborhood. Not once during this time period at the school, around the school or in any of the nearby neighborhoods have I heard one person ever utter displeasure at the name of the school.  Quite the opposite, only pride for the school. I would politely ask that the school board stop wasting time and money trying to solve a problem that doesn't even exist.

As a community member and parent of a student who attended MWES, I am writing to oppose the proposal to rename the school. We are all products of our times. We progress and learn as a human race. This kind of revisionist approach is not the right way for us to learn from our history to inform the future. Sweeping our past under the carpet by erasing a few names and statutes fools no one but ourselves and our children. We will be judged by history one day, too. Don’t forget that whenever we indulge in a moment of self-righteousness and in the “woke” culture. Besides, Mosby the person was unknown to us, but Mosby the school is what many students identify with. Don’t take that away from them.