My school district refuses to remove confederate symbols from my high school campus
I am a student at Robert E. Lee high school in San Antonio, Texas. When you walk into Robert E. Lee high school, the first thing you will see is a giant statue of Robert E. Lee. Imagine being an African American student and having to walk into school every day looking at a man who fought for the enslavement of your ancestors. Robert E. Lee high school is the oldest school in the North East Independent School district. The school mascot is a “volunteer” appearing in a red and gray confederate army uniform and looking a lot like Robert himself. The school colors are red and gray which are the confederate colors. The pep squad is called the “confederettes”, The JV drill team is called the “dixie drillers” and the varsity dance team is called the “rebel rousers”. Progress this summer was made when two confederate emblems were removed from the campus. This summer, a peer of mine, Kayla Wilson, sought to get rid of all confederate symbols from my school and change the name. At first, the district wouldn’t even put the name change up for discussion. After a long battle of board meetings and a petition with over 11,000 people,the school board voted not to change anything about my school. “Dec 11, 2015 — On Monday night NEISD Board voted NOT to rename Robert E Lee H.S . Board Trustee Wheat pleaded with fellow Board members to give the students and faculty an opportunity to voice their opinion and grievances. He requested a committee made up of teachers, administrators, and community to do surveys, obtain facts, and submit alternate names. He stated"we have not done enough to make this decision". Board Trustee White gave his testimony, as a African American the name offended him, and “we should not have to constantly defend the name of our schools for someone who is so controversial”. White reiterated Robert E Lee was the general of the confederacy, and fought to continue slavery.
Superintendent Gottardy and Board Trustees Grona, Bresnahan, Hughey, and Perkins stated they had done enough research to make this decision and felt burdened to continue any additional effort. Board Trustee Perkins mocked Trustee Wheat attempt to add the voices of the students , teachers, and PTA.
The board meeting ended with an item being place on the Agenda to look into all symbol, icons, and songs tied to the confederacy. This Agenda item will be reviewed in the spring.
Please review the video below and review the response of the Board members. Unlike other communities like , Houston, Austin, Princeton, UT and even Robert E Lee’s Washington and Lee University recommended a discussion.
San Antonio NEISD refused discussion. Board Trustees did not feel the voice of its students or faculty matter for this decision.
Please email your Board Members why community matters. Why facts are important. Please tell them ALL are children voices’ matter.”
Robert E Lee was a confederate who fought for the enslavement of black people in the United States. He fought to maintain the continued subjugation of Blacks in America’s south. My school district perpetuates a racist culture by keeping racist symbols on my campus.
The dance team and cheerleader coach threatened to their students that if the name change was posted about on social media or talked about at school, girls would be kicked off the team immediately.
Faculty members were fired for talking about it on social media as well.
The petition didn’t make a difference. The school board meeting didn’t make a difference. Very few individuals in San Antonio, Texas want to change the school name to make African American students comfortable.
PLEASE MAKE THIS POST GO VIRAL SO WE CAN CHANGE THE NAME OF MY HIGH SCHOOL AND REMOVE ALL CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS!
on todays episode of “i’m incapable of lightening up & take everything way too seriously”:
maybe when you see evidence that violent homophobic rhetoric is prominent in parts of the south, your response shouldn’t be “lol let’s just get rid of texas/tennessee/north carolina already” as if… real gay and bi and trans people do not exist in those places? like when you talk about the south like it’s a homogenous space inhabited solely by cishet bigots you neglect the important reality that those cishet bigots aren’t just comedic relief for you to laugh at from where you’re standing: they are actively hurting real lgbt people every day. we exist here too.
and what’s more – some of us love the places we live. not everyone does and i don’t blame anybody for that, but some of us love our towns as much as others love san francisco and portland and so on. the difference is that our places don’t always love us back.* hearing my home as a punchline constantly gets old when i’m still down here trying to claw out a space to belong in.
i get worked up about this 10 times a day sorry
*and i understand, a gay utopia doesn’t exist. anti-lgbt violence happens absolutely everywhere, including cities that we think of as safe and affiring – by being loved back, i mean that there’s no resources for a lot of us here, there’s no way to establish community, there’s no laws intended to keep us safer. nowhere is void of violence but at least some places try to curb it.