Public hearing on Cale Elementary name change decision

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Cale advisory committee in charge of helping Albemarle County Superintendent Dr. Matthew Haas determine whether or not Cale Elementary School should be renamed held a public hearing Tuesday at Albemarle High School.

Paul Cale was the superintendent of Albemarle County schools from 1947 to 1969. However, his legacy was questioned when a quote from Cale was discovered in which he spoke against the integration of schools. Jan Cale, Paul Cale’s daughter-in-law, said this surprised her family.

"We all just sat there stunned because never in a million years we would have ever thought anyone would have ever thought he was a racist,” said Jan.

More than a dozen other people said they knew Cale personally and that the depiction of him as a racist is wrong.

"He was an amazing, wonderful man both personally and professionally,” said Jan. “And it was our mission to do all we could to let people understand that time and the history of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and hopefully preserve his legacy."

Lewis Johnson was the only speaker who raised questions about Cale’s legacy. Johnson was one of the first 26 students to integrate Albemarle County schools.

"I was there tutoring also, plus doing my work, and had good grades until the last nine weeks they mail your report card home,” said Johnson. “And when they mailed my report card home. I had straight F's and it said retain in the fourth grade."

Johnson said he and his mother knew being held back was not right, and he found out other black students were also held back.

"Because they came out the colored school, Rose Hill Elementary School, they were not up to par with the white students,” said Johnson. “And I know some white students in the classroom I was in, they were not up to par to me but they passed to the next grade level."

Johnson said he hopes his experience will get the committee to research if Cale made decisions against black students as superintendent.

"I had a one-on-one experience with the school system. He was the superintendent. So I don't know if those were his orders or whose orders,” said Johnson. “If those were his orders than perhaps they should change the name of the school."

Johnson said if Cale was not instructing teachers to hold black students back, or finding ways to stop integration of schools, then the name should remain.

The next meeting will be held on July 30 where more family members will speak about what Paul Cale meant to them.



 
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