School should retain George Mason name

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I attended the Jan. 6 Richmond School Board meeting at George Mason Elementary School. The topic on the agenda was to discuss the possible renaming of the school. Of the approximate 10 speakers, I was the only one who proposed to keep the name for historical sources — the others proposed alternative names.

I pointed out that the name should remain because George Mason was a Virginian, a Founding Father and a writer of the Bill of Rights. I further pointed out that there’s George Mason University in Northern Virginia, where there is a statue of him; his home, Gunston Hall Plantation, is a major tourist attraction; the George Mason Memorial Bridge connects Washington, D.C., with Virginia; the U.S Postal Service honored Mason with an 18-cent stamp in its “Great American Series” of stamps in 1981; and his image in the U.S. Capitol is located near the speaker’s seat. Finally, Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Bill Lohmann recently received the George Mason Award for outstanding contributions to Virginia journalism, an award that “is named in honor of the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the model for the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.”

I feel that my presentation fell upon deaf ears; this board and the superintendent are hellbent on changing the names of buildings that honor anyone who owned slaves or is connected with the Confederacy. As I departed the podium, I pointed out to another speaker who had complained of a lack of school supplies that the changing of school names costs tens of thousands of dollar and this is why teachers cannot get school supplies.

Michael Werner.


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