The name of Confederate General Robert E. Lee will remain on a North East ISD High School, News Radio 1200 WOAI’s Morgan Montalvo reports. The board voted 5-2 not to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School following several hours of emotional debate from members of the public, and members of the board.
“How do we really care about growing out minority students in school, when minority students have to make a choice about going to a school named Robert E. Lee?” said Chris Herring, who organized the effort to change the name of the school.
Letti Bresnahan, the President of the NEISD Board of Education, who voted against the name change, said the Administration instead will launch an effort to weed out any evidence of racism or racial indignities in the district’s facilities. “There might be some symbols and some icons that maybe should be removed, symbols that have been adopted by groups that represent racial hatred and racial divide, and we don’t want that in our schools,” she said.
Herring says if they really want to wipe out ‘racial hatred’ they don’t have to look any further than the name on the school building itself. “Robert E. Lee is a symbol, Robert E. Lee is a sign, Robert E. Lee represents the Confederacy,” he said.
Last night’s vote closes the issue of renaming the high school.
The issue of how the USA recognizes and honors figures who are associated with the Confederacy burst into the public eye earlier this year when a Confederate flag waving white supremecist shot and killed nine people in a historic African American church in South Carolina. While Confederate President Jefferson Davis and other Confederate figures have had their statues and symbols removed from public spaces, Lee has generally fared better in the debate, largely because of his role as a ‘reuniter’ of the North and South following the Civil War. In San Antonio, the fact that lee lived in the city in the 1850s also compelled many to feel that he deserves continued recognition.
But opponents of Lee have argued that he led a treasonous Army which attempted to defeat the United States, and actually led an Army that invaded recognized USA territory, at Antietam in 1862 and later at Gettysburg in 1863, and did it in support of a government which held Black Slavery to be one of its guiding principles.
“This puts the name issue to bed,” Bresnahan said. “We have voted as a board, and that issue is now closed.”