The school’s new name, Quioccasin Middle School, will be transitioned in at the start of the 2016–2017 school year in the fall.
The Henrico School Board voted Thursday to adopt Quioccasin Middle School as the new name for Harry Flood Byrd Middle School in the district’s monthly meeting. The change comes after months of debate and calls for change from the community.
The School Board has been soliciting input from the public on a new name since it voted March 10th to rename the school at 9400 Quioccasin Road. The Board’s vote followed a series of public input sessions in response to a proposal by community members to rename the school. The public submitted a bevy of different names, from those honoring historical figures and presidents, to those referring to the school’s location and even the name of the family who owned the school property before it was built. You can read all of the submissions here (PDF).
When it opened in 1971, the school was named for Harry Flood Byrd, a state senator, governor and U.S. senator, and the dominant figure in Virginia politics for much of the 20th century. Besides his advocacy of a fiscally conservative “pay-as-you-go” policy of public funding, Byrd is often regarded as the architect of Massive Resistance. The term refers to Virginia’s strategy of opposition to federally mandated racial integration of public schools in the 1950s and 1960s, which resulted in some schools closing. Byrd died in 1966.
The school’s new name, Quioccasin, refers to the name of a historically black village in the area where the building is located. The new moniker will be in place for the start of the 2016-17 school year, according to Henrico County Public Schools spokesman Andy Jenks.
Renaming will start this summer with essential items, such as exterior signs, the school marquee and scoreboards. School division staff will continue to consider details of replacing athletic uniforms. The Board’s decision does not immediately affect the school’s Senators nickname or school colors–those determinations will be made at the school level at a later date.
“We are grateful to all of our stakeholders for the thoughtfulness and passion displayed throughout this community discussion,” said Lisa Marshall, the School Board’s representative for the Tuckahoe District, in which the school is located. “We are confident that our community will support this new name with the same dedication that it has supported our students for so many years.”
Photo: Henrico County Public Schools