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Lee High School renamed 'Liberty High School,' EBR Parish School Board votes

1 year 1 week 2 days ago Thursday, July 16 2020 Jul 16, 2020 July 16, 2020 8:02 PM July 16, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board voted to rename Lee High School "Liberty High School" Thursday evening during a virtual board meeting.

The decision to rename Lee High follows years-long concern over the school being named after confederate general Robert E. Lee.

There were over 5,000 responses to an online survey that asked for new school name suggestions. Among the top names in the suggested responses were "Southdowns," "Lee High," "PBS Pinchback," and "Sadie Roberts-Joseph."

The EBR Parish School Board Lee High Renaming Committee narrowed the options down to three on Monday night.

Those final three name options included:

- Liberty Magnet High School

- Louisiana Magnet High School

- PBS Pinchback Magnet High School

Those names were submitted to EBR Superintendent Warren Drake, who chose the name "Liberty Magnet High School" for the school board to vote on Thursday.

During the meeting, board member Dadrius Lanus made a substitute motion to rename the school "PBS Pinchback."

Board member Connie Bernard listed several others who believe the school should not be named after a person and asked Lanus to consider both Liberty High and PBS Pinchback Magnet as options to vote on. 

Lanus agreed to consider, however, he said the problem is not naming schools after people, "the problem is naming schools after bad people." 

President Michael Gaudet moved to public comments, then addressed "magnet" in the name. Gaudet said it may be best to leave the word "magnet" out of the new name to prevent future issues, in the event that the school would no longer me a magnet school at some point.

In another push for the name "PBS Pinchback," Lanus said, "I don't want to go the easy route. The easy route is not how we got here."

PBS Pinchback was the first African-American governor in the United States during reconstruction. Lanus added that Pinchback is a positive former public figure who represents the majority of students in EBR Schools and at the high school.

Board members in favor of Liberty High said the name would allow the school to keep its current mascot and school lettering.

The total cost to replace current signage and other things on campus that display "Lee High" will be around $250,000 to $300,000, according to Gaudet.

A fund has already been set up by the school system to offset those costs. So far, less than $250 has been raised.

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