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BRAC announces support of petition to rename Lee High School

3 months 1 week 2 days ago Wednesday, June 17 2020 Jun 17, 2020 June 17, 2020 1:35 PM June 17, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Momentum is growing yet again to rename Lee Magnet High School in Baton Rouge.

Many are expressing the same concerns that were voiced in 2016 about the name’s connection to the notorious confederacy general.

On Wednesday, city business leaders announced their support from the renewed push, saying now feels like the right time for a change.

"Our leadership felt it was time to make a change in the name of that school,” Adam Knapp, President, and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce said. 

BRAC announced in a statement Wednesday as the city-parish is in the process of reviewing building names and monuments honoring confederate leaders and other controversial historical figures.

“Inclusive communities start with inclusive schools, in which every student is welcomed to an environment conducive to learning. A school named in honor of a historical figure whose actions sought to preserve and perpetuate the subjugation of Black Americans has no place in an inclusive community. We stand in favor of righting this historical wrong and urge the EBR School Board to take action on this issue.” 

You can read the full petition here: https://p2a.co/XQzQt64

The school was originally named Robert E Lee High School in the 1960s after the Confederate general. In 2016, then school board members narrowly voted to drop the ‘Robert E’ from the school's name.

“This is just my opinion on it, I don't think the name, they should have never adopted the name lee because it's still named after him,” EBR School Board member Dadrius Lanus said.

Lanus wasn't a part of that decision that happened four years ago. But last week he submitted a letter to the entire school board asking for another name change as discussions are had all over the country regarding statues and buildings named after Confederate soldiers like Lee.

“Someone who promoted the institution of slavery, who was also a slave owner,” Lanus said.

On Thursday, board members will vote on a resolution to create a school renaming committee. If approved, that committee would be made up of two student body members, two people that live around Lee High, two school system employees, and two board members.

The committee would have three weeks to submit a list of three potential school names to replace the current name. Superintendent Warren Drake would then recommend one of those names to the school board, and board members could either agree with that name, come up with another one, or decide to not change it at all.

Lanus says that he believes there won’t be an issue in getting the school’s name changed this time around.

“I’m more than certain that I think that our board members will stand behind this. Especially considering how many people have been involved in this now. You have parents, you have teachers, you have students, you have educational organizations, you have the business community that have all galvanized support behind this. Because we know that it is wrong to send our students to a school named after someone like that,” Lanus said.

School board members will also be tasked with picking the school system’s next superintendent at Thursday night’s meeting on top of voting for the school renaming committee.

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