Lee Elementary Loses Name After TPS Board Meeting

Thursday, March 15th 2018, 10:30 pm
By: Amy Avery

The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education discussed rescinding the names of some Confederate leaders from school buildings Thursday night.

3/5/2018 Related Story: Name Change Considered For 4 Tulsa Elementaries

Board members decided to rescind the name Robert E. Lee from the school's name effective July 1st, but the board decided to push back the renaming.

"I think the name scares grandparents when they come in because it reminds them of bad things," said Lee Elementary Student Henry Dotson.  

Dotson said he is happy that the name was taken away but he isn't happy with the proposed solution.  

"I think that kids should be involved in this conversation," he said.  

His mom, Brianah, said that she wishes there would've been more transparency throughout the process. 

“One of the goals here is building community. We've had to work through things and investigate things and they didn't get to have a voice in this,” Brianah said. 

Brianah and her son were just two of many who went before the school board Thursday night.

“I feel like keeping the name Lee amounts to no change,” said Lee Teacher Taylor Painter-Wolfe. 

“From anyone who has been working tirelessly within the school knows that this has been an exhaustive process already,” said community member Nate Morris.  

Many of them want to have a say in the school's future name. 

“We all need to work as a team to fix this problem,” said 5th Grader Tremon Sims.  

“It doesn't mean that we are erasing history but maybe we don't have to put it on every building,” said Brianah.  

Several other schools in the district including Jackson, Chouteau and Columbus are still under consideration for name changes. They will be addressed in the coming weeks. But for now, the former Lee Elementary is still up for debate.

They also approved rescinding the name Henry Ford from a vacant lot that TPS owns. 

The vote regarding Lee Elementary has been pushed back to April 2nd.