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Federal judge dismisses NAACP lawsuit over Confederate school names in Hanover

Posted at 12:18 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 12:36:47-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Hanover County NAACP chapter challenging the use of Confederate names and imagery at two Hanover schools.

In August 2019, the NAACP sued Hanover County and the School Board seeking to change the names and mascots of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

The lawsuit alleges that students who attend Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School were being denied an equal opportunity to an education free of compelled speech, a violation of students' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The lawsuit against Hanover County was previously dismissed and the School Board is was the sole defendant in this case.

Thursday, U.S. District Judge Robert Payne dismissed the suit in an opinion saying the names may be offensive to some NAACP members, but the complaint “fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for relief.”

Additionally, Payne noted that a two-year statute of limitations had expired. The decision to name the schools after Confederate leaders occurred 61 and 50 years ago, respectively.

Following the ruling, the Hanover County School Board released at statement that read:

“The School Board of Hanover County is pleased that the court granted its motions and dismissed the NAACP’s lawsuit. The School Board respects, values, and cares about all students and will continue to focus on providing them with the best educational opportunities possible.”