What’s Next for Lee HS?

The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee still stands in Lee park in Charlottesville, Va., Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. The removal of the statue is in litigation and is at the center of the racial tensions and demonstrations in the town. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Elizabeth Ruiz

Robert E. Lee High School is getting a name change.

It was a unanimous vote, 7-0, Tuesday evening by the North East School District Board, but that doesn’t mean the decision wasn’t steeped in controversy.

“I got a lot of hate mail last night. I actually deleted my NEISD email account, but I also got a lot of nice letters of support from parents, from the students and alumni,” board member Sandi Wolf told KTSA News.

Wolff opposed the name change when it came up two years ago, but she says times have changed.

“We’re in a very different time now. Not only do we have a good framework for a plan, but it also came from the students,” she said.

North East School District Board President Shannon Grona says it’s a matter of safety.

“Two years ago when we addressed this issue, we did not feel that there was a safety threat, but this time we did and we did not want to take that risk,” Grona said on the Jack Riccardi Show.

She said she’s received emails from parents who were concerned about their children’s safety.

“We had staff members who felt they could not go out in public wearing their (Robert E. Lee High School) shirts without feeling threatened or uncomfortable,” said Grona.

That’s why she joined the rest of her colleagues on the board in a vote to drop the Robert E. Lee name from the campus on Jackson Keller Road.

“If we knew that and didn’t do anything about it and a student or staff member got hurt, what kind of leaders would we be?”

There’s been no decision on a new moniker and the next step will be to come up with a process for renaming the campus on Jackson Keller Road.

Grona says the Robert E. Lee name will remain for the current school year. The class of 2018 will graduate with diplomas from Robert E. Lee High School.



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