Student who took stand for changing name of Robert E. Lee High School hopeful for good outcome

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Updated: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:46 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - More than the “eyes of Texas” will be upon Tyler ISD’s board of trustees meeting on Thursday night.

On Sunday, the board announced that they would make a decision on whether to keep or change the names of Robert E. Lee and John Tyler high schools. That announcement caught the attention of people around the world who have been following the most recent push to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School.

But there’s one teenager who was more invested than most. Trude Lamb, who is being called by many the face of the new movement, spoke with us today to tell us how she reacted when she learned a decision would be made before the new school year.

“President of the school board said Thursday that they are going to have a special meeting about changing the name. Wait, wait. changing the name of John Tyler and Lee. What do you think of that? That’s awesome.”

You might be surprised that a teenager is this excited about a school board meeting, but Trude is not y our typyical teenager. For many, the star cross-country runner has become the face of the push to change the name of her high school.

She wrote a now internationally-viral letter to the Tyler ISD board of trustees, explaining why she would not run with the school’s name on her jersey, as long as it was named after the confederate general, Robert E. Lee.

“‘Please vote to change the name...not to Tyler Lee but to something we can all be proud of,” she wrote.

That’s why the surprise weekend announcement that, at a special meeting Thursday, the board would discuss and vote on adjusting the names of both schools, Lee and Tyler, brought Trude so much joy.

She and her family have been through a lot, including some ugly social media incidents such as a chat thread that began with someone posting a picture of Trude and proceeded to include comments full of racist and derogatory terms, and even threats of violence. But Trude says she wouldn’t go back and change a thing about the letter.

“I’ve had people who’ve been there and already graduated. And they said they they want the name change, but they just haven’t got the voice to just say say something about it,” she said. “It’s changed me to be more comfortable about myself and be more open.”

She added that she thinks the students who stood up for their beliefs made a difference.

“But I think with all this going on and me being out there and all the students standing up for themselves and to get the new change, I think that was what got the school board’s change the name of the school,” she said.

She knows that there’s no guarantee the names will actually be changed. She said they won’t give up, however.

The school board meeting will take place Thursday night at 6 in the Plyler Instructional Complex. Those who wish to speak during the public comment section must sign up in advance.=

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