Home African Americans Fairfax County School Board Votes Unanimously to Rename Mosby Woods Elementary School

Fairfax County School Board Votes Unanimously to Rename Mosby Woods Elementary School

The school is currently named after a "Confederate army cavalry battalion commander known for his raids on Union troops in Northern Virginia"

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From Fairfax County School Board member Karl Frisch:

Fairfax County School Board Votes to Rename Mosby Woods Elementary School

FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA – Moments ago the Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously to rename Mosby Woods Elementary School, which bears the name of John Singleton Mosby, a Confederate army cavalry battalion commander known for his raids on Union troops in Northern Virginia. The vote follows a community meeting and School Board public hearing held this month that saw unanimous support for the change as well. The proposed name change was submitted by Fairfax County School Board members Karl Frisch (Providence District) and Karen Keys-Gamarra (at-large) on June 8th with a request that it begin immediately following the renaming of then-Robert E. Lee, now-John R. Lewis High School. 

“The proposed name-change for Mosby Woods Elementary School received broad support from the community during the public engagement process,” said Karl Frisch, Providence District representative on the Fairfax County School Board. “In the FCPS strategic plan, we commit to fostering a responsive, caring, and inclusive culture. We cannot live up to that standard when students attend schools named in honor of the racist vestiges of our past. Simply put — a school system that honors the Confederacy cannot honor Black lives.” 

This summer, after the School Board voted to consider a name change, Mosby descendants sent a letter to the Board endorsing the removal of their family name from the school writing, “in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the peaceful demonstrations against the continued oppression of people of color going on across the U.S. and Europe, [we] respectfully request that you change the name of Mosby Woods Elementary School.” Their full letter is available here

Up next, Superintendent Scott Brabrand will present the School Board with potential names to consider at its October 22nd regular meeting. A community meeting will be held to consider these and other options on November 30th, followed by a School Board public hearing on December 2nd. The Board will vote on a new name at its regular meeting on December 3rd, and it will take effect in the 2021-22 school year. 

TIMELINE: 

  • June 8 – Submission: Frisch and Keys-Gamarra submit Forum Topic Request to begin the renaming process for Mosby Woods Elementary School. 
  • June 18 – Forum: School Board discussed and unanimously approved the Frisch/Keys-Gamarra Forum Topic Request to rename Mosby Woods Elementary School. 
  • June 19 – Letter from Mosby Descendants: Descendants of John Mosby sent a letter to School Board requesting a name change. 
  • September 3 – New Business: Proposed renaming was posted as New Business on the School Board regular meeting agenda, kicking off a one-month public comment period
  • September 22 – PTA Meeting: Frisch met with Mosby Woods PTA to discussing renaming process and answer questions. 
  • October 1 – Community Meeting: Community members provided feedback on the proposed renaming at a virtual community meeting. 
  • October 7 – Public Hearing: School Board held a public hearing on the proposed renaming. 
  • October 8 – School Board Vote: School Board votes unanimously to rename Mosby Woods Elementary School. 
  • October 22 – Superintendent’s Suggestions: Superintendent will present the School Board with suggested options for the new name. 
  • November 30 – Community Meeting: Community members will provide feedback on these and other possible names. 
  • December 2 – Public Hearing: School Board will hold a public hearing on these and other possible names. 
  • December 3 – School Board Vote: School Board will select a new name that will go into effect for the 2021-22 school year.