Woman donates $20K to help change 3 Petersburg schools named after Confederate leaders

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Dozens of residents packed Petersburg High School’s cafeteria Wednesday to speak before the Petersburg School Board about removing Confederate names at three schools.

A.P. Hill Elementary, J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, and Robert E. Lee Elementary are the schools in question.

Travis Tims said he’s opposed to any name changes, stating that the school board should focus on student performance.

“Tell me how changing school names is going to gain these schools accreditation?” Tims asked.

School board members anticipate paying $18,000 to rename the schools.

8News spoke with Christina Murray, a Henrico resident who donated $20,000 in an effort to help change the names of the schools.

“I didn’t want the school district to have to worry about the money, because it’s a privilege to be able to be a part of this historical change,” Murray said.

Residents in favor of changing the school names suggested naming them after prominent people who reflect their community.

“We have to change these rules and we need to change them now,” one resident said.

B. Frank Earnest from the Sons of Confederate Veterans wants the names to stay.

“I don’t see what difference it makes, what color our past leaders were or what color the students,” Earnest said. “Our children can all be inspired by great leaders from the past and we should let that happen.”

Petersburg School Board Chair Kenneth Pritchett said the board has a lot of opinions to consider before making a decision on February 7.

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