A quotation was wrongly attributed in a story in late editions of Tuesday's Washington Post about plans to change the name of the George Washington School in Alexandria. The statement, in which a speaker referred to school board members as "a bunch of foreigners," actually was made by a man who identified himself only as a member of the school's class of 1942.
The Alexandria School Board heard angry protests last night against its plans to change the name of the George Washington School to Parker-Gray, then decided to reconsider the change.
The protests came from an audience of about 100 George Washington graduates and Alexandria natives, who have fond memories of the school -- once the only high school in town -- and argue that the name should be perpetuated in the city that calls it self Washington's home town.
One speaker, Anne Tylen, told the board it should have had public hearings and called board members "a bunch of foreigners who have come to turn Alexandria upside down." She was applauded.
The decision to rename the school was made last month as part of a consolidation that will result in closing of some schools as an economy measure.
One of the schools that will close after this school year will be Parker-Gray, which now is a middle school but once was Alexandria's high school for blacks. John F. Parker and Sarah H. Gray were principals of the all-black boys' and girls' schools in the city after the Civil War.
During last month's debate, the Rev. John O. Peterson, one of the board's black members, suggested keeping the name Parker-Gray, saying that the two principals "fought for better education for blacks and their names deserve to be retained."
His suggestion for renaming Francis Hammond School was rejected. Hammond was the first Alexandrian to be killed in the Korean War.
Last night, the citizens who protested the name change said they agree that the names of the black educators should be maintained. but not at the expense of George Washington.
Washington came to Alexandria as a surveyor, said Don Hanback, a 1950 George Washington graduate. "His name is synonymous with Alexandria," Hanback said, adding that no other public building in Alexandria was named for the first president.
Jack Clark, a 1941 George Washington graduate, said he had "2,359 names on a petition against changing the name. These names represent 2,359 taxpayers. Many of them have supported the schools for 50 years."
Voting to reconsider the name change were board members Lou B. Cook, William Euille, Judith Feaver, Wilfred Smith and Alison May. Voting against were Michael Mulroney, Claudia Waller, Shirley Tyler and Peterson.
The reconsideration will come at the board's meeting April 4.