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Hanover NAACP files notice of appeal in dismissed suit against school board for Confederate name changes

Hanover NAACP files notice of appeal in dismissed suit against school board for Confederate name changes

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The Hanover chapter of the NAACP filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday in its case against the Hanover School Board aimed at changing the names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

The appeal follows a judge’s dismissal of the case in May. The judge ruled the statute of limitations for filing the lawsuit had expired.

Hanover NAACP’s president Robert Barnette said the group plans to outline its argument in an appeal filing in the next two weeks.

“We feel our case is strong enough to be heard in court,” Barnette said. “We feel so strongly that black and brown kids are not welcome in Hanover County Schools. We need that culture to change. One way to get that change moving is to change these school names.”

The lawsuit is not the only call to change the name of the two schools. A rising junior at Lee-Davis High School, Sophie Lynn, started a new petition to change the name of her school earlier this week. She said she was inspired by many calls across the state of Virginia to take down symbols of the Confederacy.

In Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney said that on July 1 the City Council will begin working on the state-required process to take down confederate monuments on Monument Avenue. On Wednesday night, protesters toppled the statue of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederacy. Gov. Ralph Northam also ordered removal of the Robert E. Lee monument on Monument Avenue, but it’s been temporarily blocked by a judge.

On Tuesday, protesters gathered outside of the Hanover County School Board building to call for an end to racism in the district. They also called for the names of the schools to change.

Prior to the lawsuit, the school board voted against changing the names of the two schools in a 5-2 vote. The vote followed a survey that showed that 3 in 4 stakeholders wanted to keep the names.

Members of the school board either did not respond to interview requests Thursday or referred a reporter to the board chair, John Axselle, who did not respond.

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