Parents, citizens to request renaming Robert E. Lee High School in school board meeting

Updated: Aug. 17, 2017 at 9:24 PM CDT
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(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A group of parents and citizens is calling for the renaming of one East Texas high school.

The events in Charlottesville, Virginia have prompted a push to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler.
"Going through old Robert E. Lee High School yearbooks and seeing Confederate flags and Confederate cannons, and seeing people waving them," said DG Montalvo, Minister of Social Justice.

Mike Warner entered the school as a junior in 1958. He was a part of the first graduating class in 1959.

"They waved the Confederate flag, they played Dixie. It was a different time with a different understanding, or lack thereof," Warner said.

But as society has progressed, Michael Tolbert said the school's name needs to change.

"I believe the majority of people realize that honoring the Confederacy that took up arms against the United States, that committed an act of treason against the United States, is just wrong," parent Michael Tolbert.

DG Montalvo said now is an opportune time for the district to take action.

"Use social pressure to apply to the problem that exists in Tyler, Texas, in regards to the underlying racism that keeps Tyler divided," Montalvo said.

Warner said the school's name isn't a real problem.

"People need to choose their battles where there is really hurt, where there is real reason for concern," Warner said.

For some parents, history is reason enough.

"To have my child in school learning history and to see a glorified image of someone who wanted to keep people as property because of the color of their skin is just wrong," Tolbert said.

Tyler ISD released this statement Thursday addressing the issue:

The Tyler ISD administration and Board of Trustees continuously stay aware of national concerns and their impact locally.

If an issue appropriately rises for Board consideration, collaboration between the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees and various leaders throughout Tyler, TX will occur, with logistical assistance from Tyler ISD administration, while in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Tyler ISD policy, and Board operating practices.

Monday's regularly scheduled August board meeting agenda will be posted Friday morning, August 18. The District will have no further comment at this time.

The Tyler ISD School Board meets on Monday at 7:00 p.m.
Some parents and community members are set to attend and make comments on the possible renaming of the high school.

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