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Don’t Want Your School to Be Named for a Confederate General? Find Someone Else Named Lee

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tags: education, Confederacy, Lee



The North East Independent School District in Texas was facing pressure to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School, amid national protests over the legacy of the Confederate general.

But officials were concerned about the estimated $1.3 million it would cost to remove and replace signs, redo a turf field, order new uniforms and make other changes large and small.

So they decided to rebrand the school Legacy of Educational Excellence, and use LEE High School as its nickname, starting last school year. The move, which included keeping the school’s gray and red colors, saved about $1 million.

“We only changed things that had Robert E., and that significantly cut down on costs,” spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said. “Many things could stay as they were.”

Many school districts are wrestling with sometimes contentious debates over being named for Confederate figures, while also facing tight budgets. The solution, they are finding, can be picking someone with a similar name.

Districts began naming schools for Confederate figures after the Civil War, with an uptick in the 1950s and 1960s. Several dozen school districts have dropped Confederate school names in recent years.

In the Houston Independent School District, officials changed a school named for Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier to the late Bob Lanier, a former mayor of the city. The Austin school district’s Robert E. Lee Elementary is now Russell Lee Elementary, named for a Depression-era photographer.

Read entire article at WSJ

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