Stonewall Jackson High athletic director Kevin Turner said eliminating all the signage and logos of the Confederate general at the Manassas school will take some work, especially if the expected school name change is to be completed before school opens in August.
“We have a great team and with the support from our facilities department I think we have a chance to meet the deadlines that will be set,” said Turner.
There are no statues of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on campus, but his image and name is on various logos.
“In the stadium field and basketball courts, the marquee out front. Lots of signs throughout the building have to be replaced. It’s gonna be a challenge,” said Turner.
On June 5, Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Walts called for the school board to rename Stonewall Jackson High School and Stonewall Middle School “immediately,” saying the school division could no longer represent the Confederacy.
The school board announced a one-week timeline for changing the schools’ names, which will begin with a special virtual meeting set for Monday, June 22.
Turner said he understands the movement to change. “The consensus is that it’s a long time coming with today’s climate in education and the education of our future students,” said Turner.
“A lot of folks are passionate about tradition and have a hard time with change. I don’t think any name change will change the hearts of those that harbor hate. We all need to examine our hearts and try to find love and respect for other people and cultures," said Turner.
"For the past 26 years, I have worked with some amazing students, teachers and administrators at Stonewall Middle and Stonewall Jackson High School. It's been the people [not the school name] that have made the difference and impacted the lives of so many students in our community,” Turner said.
The new name could be derived from another person or a geographical location. The process is underway, Turner said.
“A lot of students like the term ‘stonewall,’” he said. Merriam-Webster describes the origin of the term as something that’s difficult to surmount, used for people who are persistent and enduring or who present an obstacle as formidable as a stone wall, which is how Jackson got the nickname.
“It’s a tough term, but the history of the name is very hurtful, especially in these difficult times,” Turner said.
Turner is not sure if the nickname Raiders would change.
“It’s a possibility,” he said.
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