Lee High School, named after Confederate General Robert E Lee, has had that title since it first opened in 1958. However, it will have a new name next school year.
After years of debate, the North East Independent School District board voted unanimously in August to change the school name. Monday, the board voted on what that new name will be: Legacy of Educational Excellence, or 'L.E.E.'
"They're not at school every day when I walk into my classroom and it is divided between people who want to keep the name and people who don't want to keep it,” said current Lee senior Kendall Kloza.
Kloza and about a half dozen other students were very emotional and visibly upset after the name change became official Monday evening.
Current Lee students crying and upset name change is happening. Acronym is not good enough for them pic.twitter.com/DzoCXqUZkc— Phil Anaya (@phil_anaya) October 10, 2017
Board president Shannon Grona said the entire renaming process wasn’t easy, but people can still refer to the school as L.E.E. Grona also said it’s fiscally responsible because the district can spend less money changing things like signs and sports uniforms.
“I think in keeping with being fiscally responsible, we can have the name of the school be Legacy of Educational Excellence, and they can be the LEE Volunteers,” said Grona.
“Legacy of Educational Excellence is the closest possible win-win that we could have,” said NEISD board vice president Brigitte Perkins.
Board member Edd White disagreed.
“I just think we’re trying to put lipstick on a pig if you’re still going to have the acronym L.E.E.,” said White.
In the end, Legacy of Educational Excellence was the only proposed name of the 542 accepted submissions that the board even discussed for considerations. It was quickly put to a vote and passed 5-2.
For current students like Kloza, even an acronym is not good enough.
“They are doing the wrong thing. They are spending their money on the wrong things, and they think it’s the alumni. It's the students now. It's the students now that don't want this name to change,” said Kloza.
Whether the school will keep or change its colors and mascot will be decided in the coming weeks.