Vote to rename Byrd Middle School could come this week

Posted at 11:24 PM, Mar 08, 2016

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The fight to rename Harry F. Byrd Middle School continued Tuesday night at a Henrico County School Board meeting, as parents and students offered their thoughts on a possible name change.

The West End school is named after the former United States Senator and Virginia Governor who, among other things, fought to keep Virginia schools segregated. In addition, when the school opened in 1971, Harry F. Byrd’s son, Harry Jr., voiced his displeasure with the school being integrated.

Tuesday’s session was the second of two public input sessions on a possible name change.

Students, parents and community members spoke for nearly two hours about their opinions on whether or not to rename the middle school. Many people agreed the name should be changed due to Byrd's stance on desegregation.

"Now children are asking the question, why is the school named Harry Byrd, with the things that he promoted," said Chaldea Montague.

While others like Bill Jackson said the name should remain because it's a part of our southern history.

"Where does it stop, any malcontent comes in saying 'I find this name offensive,'" he said.

The board did not make a decision Tuesday, but a spokesperson told CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit the board could vote as early as Thursday.

As a part of this process the School Board is asking residents to suggest some names they could use to rename the school, if that is the decision the board chooses to make. One of the names suggested Tuesday was Neil Griffin. He was the school resource officer for seven years before he died from cancer early Tuesday morning.



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