Tonight the Charlottesville City School Board will vote on whether to change the name of Buford Middle School.
Shortly before Charlottesville schools broke ground at Buford on its long-awaited construction, Superintendent Royal Gurley proposed changing the name to Charlottesville Middle School to link it closer to that of Charlottesville High School.
“It’s going to be a palace of inclusion, this is a stopping point before high school,” said Gurley to Charlottesville Tomorrow. “When we have an inclusive name that reflects our community, it becomes our space. It becomes the start of them becoming Black Knights.” (Black Knights are the CHS mascot.)
The middle school vote cuts into the ongoing renaming process City Schools have been doing for the past few months. The school system agreed to take a pause on renaming Burnely-Moran and Johnson Elementary Schools after the School Board did not like any of the names the Naming of Facilities committee — the group in charge of assisting the school name changes — presented.
The Buford vote does not have an impact on the two elementary school votes nor the process overall, said Beth Baptist, chair of the Naming of Facilities committee.
Buford Middle School is named after Florence De Launey Buford, a Charlottesville educator. In 1931, she served as the first principal of George Rogers Clark School (now Summit Elementary School) after working as a history teacher at the all-white Lane High School four years prior.
Anyone who wishes to express an opinion about the middle school’s name, tonight’s meeting may be the last opportunity.
The meeting is at Charlottesville High School’s media center located at 1400 Melbourne Rd. Those attending in person must submit a request to speak at the start of tonight’s meeting at the podium, and public comment is given at the start and end of each meeting. Community members can also speak to the board virtually, but must first call the board and request a link at 434-245-2400 or email them at SchoolBoard@charlottesvilleschools.org. The meeting will start at 5 p.m.
Editor’s note: City Schools solicited feedback on the Buford name change at a School Board meeting, a PTO meeting, through its newsletter, and other methods prior to this vote. A previous version of the story said the district hadn’t sought public feedback.
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More about local name changes
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