High School

Former Dunbar and Maryland star Keith Booth sues Baltimore City Schools, per a report

Former Dunbar and Maryland star Keith Booth sues Baltimore City Schools, per a report

University of Maryland great, and former Dunbar basketball coach, Keith Booth has sued the Baltimore school system for defamation the Baltimore Sun reported Friday afternoon. The coach was fired in February for an "inappropriate interaction" between two Dunbar students who were under his supervision at the time.

Booth is suing the city school board, schools CEO Sonja Santelises, Dunbar principal Yetunde Reeves, and Jerome Jones, the director of labor relations and negotiations for the school system.

According to the lawsuit, Booth's attorney alleges that the letter released to the Dunbar community, regarding the incident at the time, implied Booth was at fault. 

“Coach Booth will forever live with the stain of Defendants’ false and defamatory letter and denial of his constitutional rights to clear his name," the lawsuit states.

Booth, a McDonald's All-American during his time at Dunbar, returned to coach the boy's basketball program in May of 2019.

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Robert E. Lee High School to change name after Fairfax County School board vote passes

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Robert E. Lee High School to change name after Fairfax County School board vote passes

Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Virginia, will change its name after the Fairfax County School Board voted on the issue on Tuesday night.

Fairfax County Superintendent Scott Braband has proposed six new names for the school board to vote upon. They are John Lewis, Barack Obama, Mildred Loving, Cesar Chavez, Legacy and Central Springfield.

The new name will go into effect to start the 2020-21 school year. A one-month comment period, that includes community input on a new name not included in Braband's recommendations, immediately begins.

“We are grateful for the feedback provided by the community during this process," School Board vice-chair and Lee District representative Tamara Derenak Kaufax said.  "We have carefully considered their input, and will be moving forward with the name change at Lee High School.  As I stated in February when this process began, Confederate values are ones that do not align with our community. I have seen the pain and hurt that these names have inflicted on friends, colleagues, and community members. Our schools need to be places where all students, staff, and members of the community feel safe and supported.”

There will be a community meeting on July 15 to discuss the names, followed by a public hearing on July 22. From there, the board will vote on a new name of the high school on July 23.

Robert E. Lee High School is not the first Fairfax County school to make a change. Earlier this month, Fairfax High School changed its mascot from the Rebels to the Lions. Formerly J.E.B. Stuart High School, named after a Confederate general, adopted Justice High School ahead of the 2018-19 school year.

Neighboring Arlington County high school Washington-Lee changed its name to Washington-Liberty to rid itself of references to top Confederate general Robert E. Lee in January of 2019.

The recent decisions by schools to dissociate themselves with past names come at a time of great civil unrest throughout the country following the murder of George Floyd. Major sports such as NASCAR have made changes such as banning the Confederate Flag, while other leagues have shown support for protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Fairfax High School changes mascot from Rebels to Lions

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Fairfax High School changes mascot from Rebels to Lions

On Thursday, Fairfax High School principal Erin Lenart announced that the school will no longer identify as the Rebels, instead adopting the Lions as its official mascot ahead of the 2020-21 academic year.

Citing the former mascot’s ties to the Confederacy, Lenart told members of the Fairfax community that the decision was one that had been made last September. Its athletic programs purchased and distributed uniforms that avoided the word “rebel” this past year in preparation for the transition.

“At Fairfax, we pride ourselves on inclusivity, family, belongingness, respect, and integrity, and given the history of Rebel, it is time for a change: Moving forward, Fairfax High School will no longer be the Rebel Pride; we will be known as the Fairfax Lions,” Lenart said in an email bulletin distributed by Fairfax County Public Schools.

As principal, Lenart was authorized to make the decision unilaterally, though the FCPS school board voiced its support for the change. The street adjacent to school, Rebel Run, will subsequently be renamed Lion Run at a school board meeting Thursday.

The announcement comes amid nationwide protests for racial equity following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who died May 25 after a police officer kept his knee on his neck for eight minutes and 48 seconds. Nationally, sports leagues have made changes such as NASCAR’s ban of the Confederate flag and the NFL admitting it was wrong to fight the players on kneeling during the national anthem.

Fellow Fairfax County high school J.E.B. Stuart, named after a Confederate general, adopted Justice High School ahead of the 2018-19 school year.  In January 2019, Arlington County high school Washington-Lee changed its name to Washington-Liberty to rid itself of references to top Confederate general Robert E. Lee. A meeting to discuss the name changes for Stonewall Jackson High School and Stonewall Middle School will reportedly be held Monday.