TYLER, TX (KLTV) - During Monday's Tyler ISD Board of Trustees meeting, local citizens addressed concerns from both sides of a yet-to-be-proposed name change of Robert E. Lee High School.
The comment section, which was restricted to its normal 30 minute run time, drew 14 speakers who presented similar arguments from an August board meeting that drew a standing room only crowd.
"I know some of us want to hold onto the name of Robert E. Lee," one speaker said. "It holds a sentimental value. But history tells us that sentiment and history are not the same thing."
One of the recurring ideas surrounded the slope effect that could occur if the high school's name was changed, with some saying that John Tyler High School would need to be changed too under the same argument.
"John Tyler was a Virginia slave owner, a member of the Confederate Congress," one speaker said. "He is not a person of good character if you've read it."
One lone student was among the speakers, who said she would like to see more money go to purchasing supplies for the school than to a name change.
"There is not enough copy paper for teachers," student Ashley Smallwood said. "There are six of us in my photojournalism class who don't have computers because there aren't enough to go around."
Ultimately, comments surrounding the history of the high school, which was built in the years following Brown v. Board of Education, held a moral argument to change the name.
"Just a few years after [that case], Tyler builds a high school in the white part of town and names it after a leader of the Confederacy, a failed movement to keep slavery legal," Scott Eckert said. "A thinking person can draw no other conclusion than that this was done out of racism and bigotry."
Others re-presented the argument that to change the name of the high school would be an attempt to erase history.
"You might as well burn the history books," one speaker said.
That point, just as last in August's meeting, was refuted with the idea that history doesn't solely reside in the names of streets and buildings, but in books and museums too.
"I know I'm not going to forget history," Ron Gleason said. "Even if you change the name of the school."
Later in the meeting, board members addressed their own ideas and opinions surrounding any possible name change.
There is no move yet to hold an official vote.
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