MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – The controversy continues over the name change of Midland’s Robert E. Lee High School. Alumni and supporters met at the Bowie Fine Arts School Monday afternoon for a pro-L.E.E. rally.
President Carie McNeil of “Save Lee Rebels” believes it is all about keeping the legacy of the school alive.
“We’ve all gone to school here. This isn’t about a name,” explained McNeil. “This is about our memories, this is about our high school, about our accomplishments and our successes.”
McNeil says the finances of changing the school’s mascot and name also can not be ignored. But above all else, she worries the district will do what it did once before.
“This has a bigger effect than what you think. All of our awards, all of our accolades, Cedric Benson, [inaudible], Jacob Power… All of their memorabilia will be trashed and will no longer be relevant, because you cannot rollover ‘I was a three-peat state champion’ to Tall City High School.”
Mother, Daisy Narvaez, says most people hoping to keep the name Lee is willing to meet half-way. While she would like to keep Midland Lee, the acronym will do.
“It’s known as Midland Lee rebels, leave it as Midland Lee Rebels. Take the Robert E. out. You know what? It’s too offensive? Put the acronym in it.”
But on the other side of the aisle is Joseph Norman. He is a Midland Lee alum and a former football player for his alma mater. He says it is not the name that made the school great, but its people, and an acronym will not do.
“It’s compromising. It’s with confederate sympathizers. It’s not changing anything. People are still going to refer to the school as Lee. You’ve got a committee of 23 people, that spent three hours a week, and this is all they can come up with? So there’s not a creative nature, there’s a protective nature on the committee that’s trying to keep things the same,” said Norman.
And for mother, Denise Norman, it is personal. She says without a name change, her son will not be attending the now Midland Lee.
“My dad grew up in Mississippi in the 60s during civil rights movement, and he’s always taught me from a young age what Robert E. Lee stood for,” said Norman. “And I will not have, I don’t feel comfortable, with my son going there. I want him to go somewhere where he is welcomed, where he’s appreciated, and where he matters.”
While the MISD Board of Trustees did not vote on the issue Monday night, President Rick Davis mentioned it will most likely be an agenda item mid-October.