BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The name of a Baton Rouge high school is back up for debate, and it has some new support from community leaders.
“Renaming [Lee High School] is the right thing to do,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC). “Inclusive communities start with inclusive schools in which every student is welcomed to an environment conducive to learning. A school named in honor of a historical figure whose actions sought to preserve and perpetuate subjugation of Black Americans has no place in an inclusive community. We stand in favor of righting this historical wrong and urge the EBR School Board to take action on this issue.”
The statement was released Wednesday, June 17, with a note that the BRAC Board of Directors intends to sign the petition encouraging the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board to rename the school.
A motion to change the name was last addressed in 2016, but was ultimately voted down after heated debate on both sides.
The current petition states the following:
“A school should always be a safe and welcoming place for the students walking through its doors. It’s time we come together as a community and acknowledge and rectify the harm caused by the continued use of this name. Lee Magnet High School was named for a slave owner and Confederate General who fought against the freedoms of Black Americans. In a district that predominantly serves Black and Brown children, we must not continue to educate our children under the name of someone who fought to oppress Black Americans.
Our elected officials have an obligation to honor the students they serve, and that means recognizing and reconciling the pain the name Lee Magnet High School inflicts on our students.
This board has the opportunity to be on the right side of history by renaming a school at which current and future generations fulfill their boundless potential.
If you believe that students shouldn’t be forced to attend an institution named in racism and that students have a right to feel comfortable in their school building, sign the petition now. Take a stand. Change the name.”
Anyone with a suggestion about renaming the school can click here to submit a comment.
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