Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Of the 2,443 names submitted to replace that of Robert E. Lee High School, less than a quarter, 542, met the criteria for a new one established by North East ISD.
The 1,901 disqualified submissions included profane, offensive, or inappropriate references, district spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor stated in an email to the media on Monday.
“As explained in the submission form, the Board’s criteria for consideration of submissions required that the proposed name be that of an idea rather than a person, and that the name should be wholesome and stand the test of time,” Chancellor wrote.
Following a student petition, the NEISD board of trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the high school on Aug. 29.
The anonymous submission period opened from Sept. 19-25. Submissions like Snowflake High School, Politically Correct High School, and Liberal Hysteria High School demonstrate ongoing resentment by some over the decision. Other similar submissions included profanity, derogatory references to the Black Lives Matter movement, Nazi figures, and racial epithets. Some referred to indoctrination and “white genocide.” More than 200 people simply proposed “no change.”
NEISD released the full list of submissions, which spanned 30 pages and included many repeated suggestions. The district had planned to post the full list on its website, but decided against it due to offensive language, Chancellor said in the email.
Not all suggestions were offensive. Many were either earnest or playful. Some submissions referenced locally connected celebrities including many current and former Spurs players and the team’s coach Gregg Popovich, comedic actress Carol Burnett, and the late architect Robert H.H. Hugman, who designed the San Antonio River Walk.
Many submissions allowed the school to keep the “Lee” portion of the name, including martial arts celebrity Bruce Lee, author Harper Lee, Marvel comic creator Stan Lee, and artist Amy Freeman Lee. Some also proposed various word combinations to yield the acronym L.E.E., for example, Leaders in Educational Excellency.
Students were encouraged to contribute suggestions. This could explain some of the more playful suggestions. “Schooly McSchoolface” was one of the most repeated names on the list.
The board of trustees will consider the list of suggestions for discussion at its Oct. 9 meeting.