NEISD Board Votes To Keep Lee High's Name | Texas Public Radio

NEISD Board Votes To Keep Lee High's Name

Dec 8, 2015

A prayer circle gathers Monday night after Northeast ISD's school board voted against changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School. "We will get our yes for justice," says Christopher Herring, leading the prayer.
Credit Virginia Alvino / Texas Public Radio News

Northeast ISD voted Monday night not to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School.

Since the racially-motivated mass shooting in South Carolina, institutions across the country have considered removing Confederate symbols.

For NEISD, the emotional discussion has endured for months, with thousands of people for and against the change signing petitions and making public comments.

One attendee of Monday’s school board meeting was Lee alumni Connie Strahan Stipp, who opposes changing the name of the school.

“We don’t feel it’s right. This is history. This is pride," says Strahan Stipp. "And we feel like Robert E. Lee was a great General. At least that’s what they tought us when we went to that school.” 

The school board says that sentiment was shared by a majority of the individuals they heard from, and voted 5 to 2 to keep the name. While Board President Leticia Brasnahan says the naming issue has been put to bed, the board did vote to review things like Confederate symbols and songs still in their schools.

“There might be some symbols and some icons that maybe should  be removed that have been adopted by groups that represent hatred, and racial divide, and we don’t want that in our schools,” says Brasnahan. 

But community member Christopher Herring says Robert E. Lee is a symbol himself, and the name should change.

“So if they’re going to really be honest and true to what they’re saying , then let them come back and say we’ve made a mistake - we understand and we know that Robert E. Lee and the confederacy and all the things they propagate are all the same," says Herring. 

Herring says a more diverse school board would better represent the interests of the district's student population, and that the community will continue to fight for the name change. 

NEISD says they’ll have recommendations on the symbols sometime next spring.