Inside nova.com:

The school-naming compromise struck by the Prince William School Board Wednesday was well received by family and friends of fallen firefighter Kyle Wilson and George M. Hampton, a trailblazer known for his decades of service to the community.

In a surprise move – aimed at diffusing what had become an emotional and racially-charged debate, the board voted unanimously to name a new elementary school for Wilson and rename Mills E. Godwin Middle School for Hampton.

The idea was proposed by school board member Justin Wilk, Potomac, and seconded by Diane Raulston, who represents the Neabsco magisterial district, which includes Godwin Middle.

The compromise was met with palpable relief by a board room packed with people, including more than 40 who spoke during a nearly three-hour citizen’s comment time to lobby the board to name the new elementary school, formerly known as the “Ferlazzo” school, for either Wilson or Hampton.

Maybe this was a good idea, maybe not.  What it seems to lack is community involvement before the current Mills Godwin Middle School will be stripped of its name.

Changing the name of this school is serious business.  It should be discussed.  Since name stripping has come to PWC, will we take the name of Godwin Drive away?  How about other county leaders for whom buildings, schools, parks, bridges and roads have been named?

Many of them are southern, since this happens to be Virginia. Virginia has southern history.  Most of its leaders were segregationists.  If they weren’t then they weren’t elected.  That’s just a fact.

I wish to take nothing away from Mr. Hampton.  I feel he should have a school named for him.  However, let’s not do it at another’s expense.  Let’s discuss this proposal.  Let’s have community input.

From the Mills E. Godwin Middle School website:

MILLS E. GODWIN, JR. (1914-1999)
Served 1966-1970, Democrat; 1974-1978, Republican

The only Governor elected twice by popular vote, Governor Godwin served in both houses of the General Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor. An attorney from Nansemond County
(now the City of Suffolk), Godwin instituted the first sales tax in Virginia during his first administration to invest in a newly-created Community College System. During his second term, Governor Godwin guided the revision of the State Constitution, reinstated the death penalty and reorganized the penal system.

9 Thoughts to “Mills Godwin Middle to have a name change”

  1. It has also been policy for decades in PWC to only name schools for individuals posthumously.

  2. Mom

    Its a good policy so that you don’t end up with things like Tom Delay HS, The Eliot Spitzer Charm School, O.J. Simpson Middle School or the Bill Cosby School for Women.

  3. If schools are going to be named for a person, the kids should know who the hell the person is. I know who Jennie Dean was. I wonder how many students know or give a crap.

    I looked at the city schools. Lots of names…nothing on the website. Come on, City. Let us know who Metz, Dean, Osbourn and whoever really were.

    Godwin’s website is very informative about who Mills Godwin was and what some of his accomplishments were. Kudos to the school. I hope the students know.

  4. @Mom

    I agree its good policy. It also keeps egomaniacs on the school board from naming a school after themselves. (not that we have any now…but in the past and future)

  5. Ed Myers

    Schools should not be named after even dead people.

    They should have patronage signs like the welcome signs at the state lines with the current governor’s name. Schools could have “this school funded by the BOS” and list all their names. Imagine the “not fully” graffiti inserted between school and funded that would be added every budget cycle.

    Ok, so it isn’t such a good idea but naming rights everywhere else come with a price tag. Shouldn’t schools also get some cash for becoming a political advertising platform. How about the PWC Verizon Middle School.

    1. That’s a novel approach.

      What’s wrong with naming them after the communities they serve?

      How many communities have a Christa McAuliffe school? Martin Luther King School? Thurgood Marshall? At least Marshall had children living in the county and grandchildren going to school here.

      You heard it here first…how long before someone wants to have an Anton Scalia Elementary?

  6. Sean

    It amazes me that someone like William Grayson doesn’t have a school named after him. Take some time to research him, he was Virginia’s first Senator to the US Senate, a Revolutionary War hero and a PWC native.

  7. Confused

    MoonHowler :
    It has also been policy for decades in PWC to only name schools for individuals posthumously.

    Is it a written policy?

    1. I thought it was but I am not sure.

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