Contributed by Over the Fence Post
In recent weeks, I have heard from concerned county residents regarding the relocation of gravesites found on the site of the soon-to-be-built high school on Route 234 near Hoadly Road in the Coles District. I wanted to make you are aware of some new information and opportunities for community input.
The Prince William County School Board will hold a public meeting to receive comments from the community on plans for reinterring the artifacts and remains from the graves discovered. The meeting will be held on Monday, December 16, at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Meeting Room of the Edward Kelly Leadership Center which is located at 14715 Bristow Road in Manassas. Insights and historical information will be presented during the meeting and residents will have the opportunity to provide their feedback on appropriate ways to recognize and reinter the artifacts/remains. Residents who wish to address the School Board during the meeting may sign up by doing one of the following:
- Notify the School Board Clerk in writing at P.O. Box 389, Manassas, VA 20108; by phone at (703)791-8709; or by e-mail at [email protected] prior to noon on the day of the Board meeting to be placed on the list of speakers; or
- Sign up to speak on the list of speakers maintained at the entrance to the School Board Meeting Room at the beginning of the meeting, but prior to 6:55 p.m., on the evening of the meeting.
Also, during the December 3rd meeting of the Board of County Supervisors, I requested that the Board send a letter to the Prince William County School Board encouraging them to identify a location on or adjacent to the site of the soon-to-be-built high school on which to re-inter the artifacts and remains, keeping the remains as close as possible to their original location. I believe doing so would show dignity and respect for those who were laid to rest at the site and their surviving family members, while also providing a unique educational opportunity for the students who will attend the new high school. As part of my request I asked my colleagues to put the wishes of the descendants foremost in their decision, and I thank them for their support and efforts to do so.
Finally, during the Board of County Supervisors’ meeting held on November 19th, I requested the establishment of a new County policy to increase the level of community awareness and consultation when gravesites are discovered in the future on land where public facilities are being built. My request, supported by Chairman Corey Stewart, would establish an additional layer of citizen involvement whenever County agencies request the exhumation and relocation of a gravesite. While I am confident that school officials complied with all applicable policies and followed all necessary procedures in a judicious and cautious manner in their determination that the relocation was necessary, Chairman Stewart and I fully support the establishment of a County policy which will allow for more community involvement in that process if and when it becomes necessary in the future.
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