The hypocrisy of Albemarle County’s school-renaming frenzy is exhibited on a wall at the former Sutherland (now Lakeside) Middle School. On display, three-and-a-half years after the cultural purge eradicated the Sutherland identity, a large flag with the school’s previous name remains prominently displayed in the school gymnasium.
Mortimer Y. Sutherland—the school’s namesake— was a generally well-regarded Albemarle County native who served the community as a teacher, principal, school board member, and County Supervisor.
On August 13, 2020, Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) superintendent, Matt Haas, released his recommendation to rechristen the school by July of 2021. Cited in Haas’s report as justification for the change was an alleged racial faux pas of Sutherland, judged through the lens of presentism:
On June 15, the advisory committee narrowed the list of names under consideration to three, eliminating Mortimer Y. Sutherland as one of the choices. At the time, the committee referenced research documents on Sutherland’s votes and actions while a member of Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors. In 1963, for instance, Sutherland was the lone vote on the Board of Supervisors to uphold a ban on all school athletic and social activities that brought together white and black students.
The school division’s policy on the naming or renaming of schools for individuals requires a review of the person’s personal and professional life to determine if it exemplified the school division’s four values of young people, respect, community and excellence.
A “renaming survey” offered to ACPS parents, students, and employees—as well as general community members—showed that nearly 64% of the 895 respondents favored keeping the Sutherland moniker.
The survey findings, as anticipated by many, were disregarded in favor of political correctness, and the Sutherland name was discarded into history’s dustbin.
As lead instigator of the Albemarle County Public Schools’ cultural purge, Haas—who is grotesquely overpaid and who has badly mis-managed ACPS during the entirety of his superintendent tenure—has not yet had his name “reviewed” for determination of his purity and worthiness to lead the failing school division.