lee high baytown

Goose Creek (Texas) board says no to renaming Robert E. Lee High School

Sept. 11, 2020
In a 4-3 vote, the board decides to keep the name of the Confederate general on its Baytown, Texas, high school

The Goose Creek (Texas) school board has voted 4-3 against changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the vote came at the end of  a contentious board meeting that lasted more than eight and a half hours.

The board did approve creating a committee to study changing the name of the school and potentially others.

The debate over changing the name of one of Texas’ last remaining schools to bear Robert E. Lee’s name comes amid national calls to remove monuments commemorating and rename schools honoring Confederate figures.

The conversation in Baytown has grown especially contentious in recent weeks. The divide was evident among the 60 or so people who spoke during public comments.

Those who spoke in favor of keeping the name said removing it would show the district had caved to outside influences and “cancel culture.” They said removing Lee’s name would not make the history of the Confederacy go away but would tarnish the memories of the generations of people who attended the 92-year-old school. Others said spending as much as $400,000 to change the name throughout the school and on uniforms would be imprudent in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among those who sought a name change were Black alumni and current students who said walking through the halls of a school dedicated in memory of a man who fought to keep their ancestors enslaved made them feel unwelcome.

Last school year, about 71 percent of the students were Hispanic, slightly more than 14 percent were Black and about 12 percent were white

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