Moms of Robert E. Lee students speak out against schools possible name change

Moms of Robert E. Lee students speak out against schools possible name change
Updated: Jun. 14, 2018 at 4:39 PM CDT
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - As the community continues the discussion centered around the name of Robert E. Lee High School, the school board is getting ready for a meeting on Monday.

They will decide on whether or not to change the schools name to Lee High School, but supporters say Robert E. Lee is tradition.

"I'm proud to say I graduated from Robert E. Lee, my diploma says Robert E. Lee," petition starter, graduate and mom Misty Kinnett said. "My son, my nieces, my nephews, my sister, I mean there's a long line of us that graduated from Robert E. Lee High School."

That's why the possible name change of Robert E. Lee  High School hits so close to home for some members of the community.

"We've all gone to these schools, this is our heritage," Angela Smallwood said. "This is gonna be erased basically, eradicated."

Smallwood says after school board member Orenthia Mason's comments about not being able to return to her own high school Emmett J. Scott, Smallwood son, a graduate of REL was visibly upset.

"He said mom 'that's gonna be me someday, that's gonna be me without a past,'" Smallwood said.

Family tradition is only one of the many reasons the moms have started a petition to keep the name Robert E. Lee, another is the cost.

Changing the name of Robert E. Lee would cost up to 800-thousand dollars. Parents are saying that money could be used for more important issues.

"We need more computers, textbooks, we need more textbooks," REL graduate and mom Lisa McClure said.

"That money could be spent protecting our children, making sure they feel safe," Kinnett said.

A petition the moms started already has over 800 signatures since Sunday, but those wanted the name changed are still fighting back.

As a compromise, the school board has decided to vote on Monday to change the name from Robert E. Lee High School to Lee High School.

"I think that would be a big mistake," Kinnett said.

"It's pretty much the same, why take the Robert E. part off?" McClure said. "It's still gonna be Lee people are still gonna associate it with that."

If interested, you can sign the Robert E. Lee 'Save Our Name' petition on

RELATED: Tyler ISD Board of Trustees president: 'Discussion of the name change has concluded'

RELATED: Robert E. Lee name change discussion added to Monday's TISD board agenda

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