Robert E. Lee High School has a new name after Fairfax County Public Schools conducted a vote Thursday to approve a decision originally reached in June.
The school will now be known as John R. Lewis High School, honoring the late Georgia congressman and civil rights activist who died Saturday. The FCPS school board originally voted June 23 to adopt the name before conducting a virtual town hall meeting July 15 and public hearing Wednesday.
Alfonso Smith, principal of the high school, confirmed the news on Twitter while the school has already changed its athletic department handle.
Good evening everyone! So now we know. There is amazing awesomeness in our school’s diversity. Have a great night. - The Proud Principal of John R. Lewis High School, home of The Lancers, where we continue to “Behold the Blue & Gold”!— Alfonso G Smith (@JohnLewisHSFCPS) July 23, 2020
The decision follows a flurry of other name and mascot changes for schools in the DMV—including nearby Fairfax High School—in an effort to retire names honoring confederate soldiers.
Robert E. Lee reported a student body composed of over 85% minority students during the 2019-20 school year.
Lee High opened in 1958 and was named during the burgeoning Civil Rights' movement and just four years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision that integrated public schools across the United States.
The school's athletic teams have always been known as the Lancers, lacking the Confederate iconography used by other Northern Virginia public schools. Sports teams will play on as the Lewis Lancers.