Tyler ISD Board of Trustees may address controversy over name of Robert E. Lee High School on Monday

Published on Friday, 15 September 2017 18:55 - Written by

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CORY MCCOY, comccoy@tylerpaper.com

The Tyler Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday may address the controversy over the name of Robert E. Lee High School.

The September board meeting agenda shows the board will discuss matters related to changing facility names, specifically “Naming, Renaming or Modifying the name of any school building or other facility in the district." It is a discussion only item, meaning any action on the issue would come at a later meeting.

“Obviously the issue of the naming of schools is one that our community cares deeply about,” Board President Fritz Hager said. “I put this item (on) the agenda so the board could discuss it in a public open forum, which is the appropriate place.”

Last month hundreds of residents attended the board meeting to give their thoughts on whether or not the district should rename Robert E. Lee High School as the district prepares to fully renovate the school.

The push to change the name of the high school is a grassroots movement, with groups in the community coming together on both sides of the issue.

Those arguing for the name change said that it adversely affected students and doesn't serve the best interest of the district's children moving forward. However, others said it would be a shame to change the name that has stood since the school opened in 1958.

Some said a change for Robert E. Lee High School would also require a change for the city’s other high school because its namesake, John Tyler, was a slave owner. Others said using that reasoning, the name of the city also would have to change 

More than three dozen people spoke during the meeting. Hundreds of people on each side have signed online petitions in favor of their stance.

The push comes amid a nationwide movement to remove statues and change the names of schools honoring figures of the Confederacy.

Hager said the board has received a steady stream of input from the community since its last meeting.

“The issue has not gone away,” Hager said. “So I felt it was appropriate for us to discuss it as a board."

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Monday at the Jim Plyler Instructional Complex, 807 W. Glenwood Blvd.

Twitter: @TMT_Cory

IF YOU GO:

What: Tyler ISD board meeting

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where:  Jim Plyler Instructional Complex, 807 W. Glenwood Blvd.