Kanawha County Woman Hopes to Change the Name of Stonewall Jackson Middle School

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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A petition has been posted online to attempt to change the name of Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Charleston.

After the debate over the confederate flag being flown at the South Carolina statehouse, Gregg Suzanne McAllister says she was inspired to revisit the issue of the school’s name, which she has been hoping to see changed for several years.

“It's always been a thorn in my side. The fact that I live in a state that would honor General Stonewall Jackson, who, to me, was fighting for the wrong cause,” said McAllister. “It was the wrong cause because it upheld the oppression of African slavery.”

McAllister visited with Kanawha County school officials to figure out how to go about changing the school’s name. She then posted the petition on July 2, which started gaining several signatures on Tuesday.

"This might be the low-hanging fruit, and I know we have much bigger issues to deal with as far as educating and closing the achievement gap of African American students. But, this is an obvious fix,” said McAllister. "We want to revisit this in Charleston, West Virginia, because Stonewall Jackson Middle School has a majority minority population."

Some residents disagree with the petition, and are hoping to keep the name the same.

"It’s not a good idea at all,” said Brent McClaskie, who graduated from the school when he was kid. “Everyone around Charleston knows it as Stonewall and that's how we ought to keep it."

A Facebook page was also started on Thursday named “Petition to Save the Name Stonewall Jackson for the Old High School.”

McAllister says she will eventually present her petition to the Kanawha County school board.

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