UPDATE: Lee Jr. High to be renamed Neville Junior High

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:20 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2020 at 8:29 PM CDT
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UPDATE: Board unanimously voted to change the name to Neville Junior HS

This comes after the board split its vote during last month’s meeting to approve the community committee’s recommendation of Neville Junior High School.

A 16-person committee comprised of students, faculty, and school board representatives voted on Neville Jr. High as the replacement name after narrowing down over 40 other options.

The Facilities Committee unanimously voted, 3-0, at Wednesday’s meeting.

The renaming of Lee Jr. Highschool will be finalized at next week’s board meeting on Sept. 15.

To see the full timeline of the renaming process click here.

Click here to read the district’s renaming of facilities policy.

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The renaming of Robert E. Lee Junior High hit a snag at Tuesday night’s Monroe City School Board meeting.

The school board voted 4-3 against changing the school’s name to Neville Junior High. That was the name chosen and submitted by a 16 community committee tasked with presenting a new name. The committee considered 44 naming suggestions submitted by the public.

The name was rejected because some of the board members expected to be given a few options instead of being presented with a single name. Now, the matter is expected to go back to the facilities committee for further review. The school board still intends to rename the school.

“I would like to send it back to the committee and have that committee give us, say the top three considerations and bring it back to the board, because it is the board’s decision,” said Board President, Betty Ward Cooper

Other board members including Bill Wilson and Jennifer Haneline disagreed with Cooper stating that the board should respect the community’s decision.

“We’re going to sit here and say we’re about transparency, we’re about following rules, doing the right thing, honoring our word then please let’s do it,” Wilson said.

School leaders decided to change the name earlier this summer after an online petition requesting the change garnered thousands of signatures. Robert E. Lee was the leader of the Confederate States Army and a slave-owner. Fact-checkers attest he fought to maintain the institution of slavery.

The petition noted the high percentage of Black students who attend the school and said, in part, “It is time to step into the 21st Century and leave the ideals of the Confederacy behind. Most Confederate monuments and naming of schools were done during the Jim Crow Era as a message that the South will hold the ideals of the Confederacy.”

The idea of attending a school named after a man who fought to keep the institution of Black slavery alive was cited as a potential cause for trauma for the Black community.

Meanwhile, another online petition with over 2-thousand signatures is also looking to remove Confederate imagery from a local public school. Some current and former West Monroe High School students say it’s time to get rid of the Rebel mascot/nickname. They also want to get rid of the marching band’s Confederate soldier-inspired uniforms, the dance squad’s Confederate flag-themed uniforms, and the “Dixie” song, which has a racist history as part of minstrel shows. A counter-petition was started in response. It seeks to keep these controversial elements in place. So far, the counter-petition has been signed by more than 4-thousand people.

Monroe City Schools policy on renaming buildings can be found here.

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