School board president says it’s time to look inside Stonewall Middle

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County school system is seeking input from the public on what should be the next name for Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

The system posted a survey on its website Tuesday calling for those taking part to name their top two choices for a new name. The survey is open until July 13 at 9 a.m.

The county school board voted Monday to rename the school, removing the name of the Confederate general who owned slaves. The school first opened as Stonewall Jackson High School in 1940.

Kanawha County BOE President Becky Jordon, who graduated from the high school, said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline” it’s time to take the momentum generated by those in favor of the name change and move it inside the building.

“I wish they would quit doing their protesting and get inside this building and work with people,” Jordon said. “There were people who wanted these names changed who would have never allowed their kid to go to Stonewall and that really aggravated me.”

Stonewall Jackson Middle School has the largest percentage of black students in the state at more than 40 percent. Jordon said although she never thought about the implications of the school name when she was growing up she understands now why it should be changed but it shouldn’t stop there.

“They’re (the current Stonewall students) not in a lot of two-parent homes, there are a lot of drugs in the home and it’s scary,” Jordon said. “With all of these kids working online, who’s educating them? Covid hasn’t helped but it’s been like this for years.”

According to the 2018-19 state Department of Education Scorecard, Stonewall does not meet standards in the areas of English/Language Arts, Math, Discipline and other areas.

Pastor Wayne Crosier of Charleston-based Abundant Life Ministries told the school board Monday he’s committed to it being more than a name change.

“We want to work on their test schools, to work on their math scores, to work on their reading scores,” Crosier said. “I want you to know this is more than about a name, it’s about a culture change.”

Jordon said there’s a unique opportunity to help the staff at Stonewall.

“I hope only good continues to come out of this name change. Hey, if you have extra time please go in and volunteer and help in any way you can,” Jordon said.

Jordon said it’s possible the school board could choose a new name at its next regular session which is scheduled for July 18. She said the board may consider the top five names listed in the survey.

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