Letter: Ken Reid, McLean

Editor: The article, “10 Loudoun School Names Under Further Review for Possible Racist Ties,” states that a Loudoun School Board-initiated review of names of public schools, “found that none of the schools in Loudoun County were named after Confederate leaders. However, they have determined that ten schools need to have a closer look.  The list includes four named for people and six named for places.”

Among those are Frances Hazel Reid and Balls Bluff Elementary Schools in Leesburg and Mercer Middle School in Aldie.

According to her bio on the Hazel Reid Elementary School web site, the late “Fannie” Reid (no relation to me) “worked with the [Loudoun Times Mirror] newspaper for 73 years and worked hard to study and preserve the history of Loudoun County. Because of her contributions to Loudoun County, our elementary school was named for her.” 

However, the bio states Ms. Reid “was the charter member of the Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.” Or perhaps Ms. Reid in her 73 years as a Times Mirror reporter and editor used terms like “negro” or “colored” in her writings? I think those terms were pretty standard in American journalism into the 1970s.

So, I guess for History Matters, the Richmond firm hired by LCPS to do this review for $6,000 a month, Miss Fannie needs to be canceled for violations of current “woke” standards.

As for Balls Bluff Elementary, I don’t see what the issue is. Balls Bluff was one of the first battles of the Civil War and, yes, the Confederates won. So, are we now going to rename buildings named for Confederate victories? 

I also don’t see the concern with Mercer Middle School. I believe it’s named for Charles Fenton Mercer, who was a congressman from Loudoun and who fought in the War of 1812. Wikipedia states: “He also opposed slavery and became active in the American Colonization Society, which he helped found in 1816…, and worked to establish the Free State of Liberia,” which our fifth president, James Monroe (who lived in Loudoun), made happen.

But there’s another famous Mercer in Loudoun – Margaret (1791-1846). According to this a newspaper article, Ms. Mercer was a “strong opponent of slavery … a co-founder of the African resettlement movement in Loudoun. She saw that her black employees were taught to read, write and were welcomed to worship. She raised funds for the education of young African-Americans to send them to Liberia as missionaries and settlers. “

My guess is that LCPS’ consultants believe the people who wanted to repatriate slaves to Liberia is racist by today’s woke standards, and so it’s “offensive” to have a school named for them.

It’s truly disgusting LCPS is spending $6,000 a month for a firm to do Google searches, which high schoolers could have done for free as part of a project.

Meanwhile, the test scores for Hazel Reid and Balls Bluff are not great; perhaps that $6,000 a month could go to better use, particularly to help low-achieving students, many of whom are non-white.

Better yet, let’s elect a new School Board in Loudoun in 2023 or else, no facility can bear the name of a historical figure unless they were “woke” or liberal.

Ken Reid, McLean

10 thoughts on “Letter: Ken Reid, McLean

  • 2022-07-16 at 11:55 am
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    Dear Mr. Reid, Thank you for your eminently sensible suggestions on the numerous ways LCPS could spend $6,000 a month more effectively. I think your final suggestion is the only way to resolve the nonsense currently raging in the halls of the school board.

  • 2022-07-16 at 1:39 pm
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    I’m afaid Mr. Reid misses the point. An elementary school shouldn’t be named for any Civil War battle — regardless of which side won. Tragically, elementary schools are becoming war zones. Students are being gunned down with abandon, while police officers stand in the hallway. Why would we want to add to that scary atmosphere by having a school named for a battle? C’mon, Mr. Reid. Get with the program! Happy Hug Your Kid Day Loudoun!

    • 2022-07-18 at 10:51 am
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      So based on this comment, we should not teach any history about war and violence that has taken place because today, people are being killed by guns; including, sadly, within schools. Yeah, that makes no sense.

      I think you, Timmy, need to get with the program. The point of this letter is that LCPS is waiting $6K/month (or $72,000 a year) of taxpayer money to conduct unnecessary research of school names that may offend 1 person, when that money could be better spent elsewhere…such as, you know, to help the children actually learn history instead of erase it.

    • 2022-07-18 at 11:00 am
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      you really think the name of the school invites gun violence? Columbine, remember that — Columbine is a flower! None of the schools which have been shot up were named for battles or war! What a loony leftie this Smith person is!

  • 2022-07-17 at 7:07 am
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    As a former school board member it is sad to see how hypocrisy can be so easily ignored by the media keeping the public uninformed. How does the practice of BUSING the children who could walk to Douglas Elementary School in downtown Leesburg out to suburban schools NOT RACISM? EVERY other neighborhood in Loudoun fights and wins to allow their children to walk to the nearest elementary school but the powers in charge CHOOSE NOT to allow the local children (some of the poorest in Loudoun) to get similar advantages. By busing these kids they make them strangers in other communities, waste their time on buses in traffic and under a false premise. Nobody requires Douglas to be crowded or unable to handle the diversity of its local neighborhood! Where are all the human rights people when something so obvious is being done while we are distracted by name changes? WAKE UP AND VOTW IN LOCAL ELECTIONS! 🙂

  • 2022-07-18 at 9:34 am
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    We need to elect a whole new school board anyway. The current one is a laughingstock around the country and is doing anything and everything except concerning themselves with the education of the children.

  • 2022-07-18 at 10:06 am
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    Mr. Reid I expect that they have issues in Fairfax county where you clearly live. Maybe spend some time fixing those. We appreciate your concern and desire to help us Loudouners. But we’re all good.

    • 2022-07-19 at 8:30 pm
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      why not address my arguments vs. dismissing what I have to say simply because I live outside the County? Perhaps because you know in your heart of hearts what is going with this “study” is ridiculous. But for your information, I served 10 years in elected office in Loudoun (2006 to 2017) and my kids were schooled in LCPS from 1st grade to high school.

      • 2022-07-21 at 10:19 am
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        This obsession with changing school names to appease the chronically offended need to end.

  • 2022-07-18 at 10:54 am
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    the easiest answer is to vote all of these school board members out of office. We need members who are focused on actually ensuring our children are being taught history, math, science, and english. The LCSB only wants to be woke social justice warriors. Woke liberal issues are their priority. The children are their least worry.

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