The debate as to whether or not to keep schools open during the coronavirus pandemic has been widespread. Many argue closing schools create a devastating and emotional gap in children’s development. Amongst the most affected are the children who come from low economic backgrounds whose families do not have the luxury of being able to afford necessary learning tools.
One Virginia school is investing nearly $450,000 in its district. Unfortunately, the means for which the money is being used is quite literally a slap in the face to those underserved children. The country is in a pandemic; people are losing their jobs, finances and livelihood and a school district that has $450,000 of exposable income is choosing to use it on changing the names of three schools.
Instead of providing internet services, books, learning materials, tablets, computers or anything that can help the district’s children who have lost an entire year of development, hundreds of thousands of dollars is being used to change names on buildings. It’s irrational, and it’s offensive.
In an 8-1 vote, the Portsmouth, Virginia school board determined it would be beneficial to spend a gross amount of money to “scrub the names of Woodrow Wilson, John Tyler and former Norfolk County Superintendent of Schools James Hurst from local schools” reported Just the News.
Local news station WAVY reports “Wilson’s segregationist views, Tyler’s support of the Confederate States of America and Hurst’s reported racist budgetary practices in the 1920s all led to the name changes.” Certainly, at some point, it is not irrational to consider a change, but as the lone dissenting vote on the proposal said, such a large expense for the name changes are improper during the pandemic.
“We are in a COVID-19 pandemic. I just think $443,000 needs to be concentrated in the resources for students,” said Ted Lamb, the only one who voted against the proposal.