Woman Starts Petition To Rename Tulsa School Named For Confederate General

Monday, August 14th 2017, 6:26 pm

President Donald Trump condemned the white supremacist groups involved in a rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend.

One woman died after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, 19 others were injured.

James Fields, Jr. is charged with second-degree murder for the collision.

The rally was organized to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The events there sparked a petition here in Tulsa to rename Lee Elementary, one of the oldest schools in the city, which was named after Lee in 1918.

The name is everywhere outside Lee Elementary, and there's no mistaking it's there to honor the Confederate general.

According to the school district, they've discussed the significance of the name in the last few weeks. The commitment to consider changing it came after a petition started online.

8/14/2017 Related Story: TPS To Review School Names Following Petition To Change Lee Elementary

“I just thought something ought to be done about that, so I created the petition,” said petition organizer Antigone LoVoi.

LoVoi lives in Edmond, but graduated high school in Tulsa, and decided she could do something.

“I think a lot of people are feeling calling helpless right now about white supremacy right now in America. They don't know what to do. But I think we can start by not glorifying the people they glorify,” she said.

The petition prompted a quick reaction from Tulsa Public Schools, which considers equity a core value.

“In order to meet that core value, we have some steps we need to take to make sure the names of our schools reflect that,” Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist said.

Gist said she and the board would start reviewing names and bring in community members to consider whether the name of Lee, or any other school, should change to reflect the values of the school.

“I think this was an additional impetus to get a group together and have those conversations more formally,” the superintendent said.

The district said nothing would happen quickly - they want to engage community members to consider the history of the school and its namesake before making any decision.