School removes Robert E. Lee from its name, citing “student safety”

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A high school that bore the name of Confederate General Robert E. Lee for more than 60 years has decided, in the interest of students’ safety, to finally shed the name.

The safety concern was prompted mostly by national political and racial conflict over Confederate symbols; there weren’t any local incidents that drove the North East Independent School District trustees to make the decision to get rid of the name. The Texas school didn’t really want to change the name but board president Shannon Grona expressed feeling pressured to “take the target off our backs.”

She told the San Antonio Express-News: “It is so frustrating to me that things that aren’t even happening in North East (ISD) or San Antonio, or even Texas, are once again causing us to discuss the name of Lee High School.”

Breitbart Texas reported in 2015 on a previous attempt to change the name of Lee High, after the tragic murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Grona, then board vice president, and trustees voted 5-2 to keep Lee’s name. “We have had some who have resorted to bullying, intimidation, and threats in an attempt to change the name,” she said at the time.

After the recent events in Charlottesville, Trustee Tony Jaso considered the “national debate” so “overly charged” that it was a “potential danger to our children at this school, aside from being a colossal distraction from our primary mission — to educate and develop the whole child,” according to the Rivard Report.

An online petition, “Denounce White Supremacy by Renaming San Antonio’s ‘Robert E. Lee’ High School” prompted the school board meeting.

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