AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to rename Lee Elementary School.
When the school year starts, kids will step off the bus and into Park Hills Elementary instead of Lee Elementary School.
In 2018, Robert E. Lee Elementary School was shortened to Lee Elementary. Now, after the Amarillo NAACP’s formal request, Lee Elementary is no more.
“I think that it’s consistent with the wave across the country, a lot of these schools they are changing their names to something that is more celebratory as opposed to divisive,” said Robin Malone, president of the AISD board of trustees.
Malone said she understands some will oppose the name change and offered this advice:
“Consider what the name Robert E. Lee means and what he represented, and how can we have students whose ancestors were targets of his racism—how can we tell those students to walk into this school on a daily basis and not let that affect them psychologically?”
Luz Vasquez, whose son attends Lee Elementary, initially attended the meeting to oppose the name change. She said she was concerned the money could be used in a better way.
“But now with the name change, people are going to be more informed of the reasons why it was changed and hopefully they will know this is not affecting the school financially,” Vasquez said.
AISD Superintendent Doug Loomis noted the name change will cost about $25,000 total. He said they expect the name change to Park Hills Elementary School to be complete by the time school starts.
“There’s pride in a name and I think that this goes a long way toward addressing some of the implicit biases,” Malone added, “and I think the name as it is now, they can have pride in their school. They can say, ‘I go to Park Hills Elementary,’ and not be ashamed and be proud of that.”
You can watch part of the meeting below: