A Step in the White Direction: Robert E. Lee Elementary School Renamed by AISD Board of Trustees

Abigail Hurtt, Editor-in-Chief

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The Amarillo Independent School District Board of Trustees met Monday to vote on renaming Robert E. Lee Elementary School. The board voted 4-3 in favor of shortening the school name to Lee Elementary.

The elementary school, located in Park Hills, was named after Confederate general Robert E. Lee, sparking controversy in the predominately black neighborhood. In keeping with the AISD policy of naming schools after their surrounding neighborhood, some board members and citizens wanted the school to be renamed Park Hills Elementary, erasing Lee’s name and association altogether. Simply shortening the school’s name is not a fix; it is an illusion of acceptance in a community unwilling to let go of its “heritage.”

The outrage from the Park Hills community is completely valid, as the school name is deeply offensive, promoting racism and oppression. Even with the name shortened to “Lee,” racist undertones are still apparent as the board was not willing to change the school’s name to Park Hills Elementary.

The Confederacy is not synonymous with patriotism, and it certainly does not represent what America claims to stand for. While Amarillo is trying to move in the right direction with the recent name change, its efforts are misguided, and there is a lot of work to be done as racism is still pervasive in this part of the country and in our community.

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