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School board votes for Baton Rouge’s Lee High School to be renamed Liberty High School

Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 11:08 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge School Board decided on a name to rename Lee High School in Baton Rouge during a board meeting Thursday, July 16.

Board members decided to rename Lee High School, originally named for Confederate general Robert E. Lee, Liberty High School.

Liberty High School was picked over Louisiana Magnet High School and PBS Pinchback High School.

The EBR Parish School Board Lee High Renaming Committee selected Liberty Magnet High School, Louisiana Magnet High School, and PBS Pinchback High School as finalists after thousands of suggestions.

RELATED: EBR school leaders asking for parents to fill out reopening survey

Superintendent Warren Drake has presented those names for review. Drake recommended the EBR School Board renaming Lee High School to Liberty Magnet High School.

“Most of them (Lee High students) wanted to keep that L-M. Right now it’s Lee Magnet High School, they wanted to keep the L-M in there. I think the majority of them wanted to keep the colors of the school and also the mascot of the school,” said Drake.

School Board President Michael Gaudet presented a motion for the word “magnet” to be dropped from the name of the proposed Liberty High School and the motion passed.

“But 10 years from now, 15 years from now, if that school is not a magnet school we do not need to be spending lots and lots and lots of money to be replacing signage and everything else associated with that,” said Board President Gaudet.

Board members Dadrius Lanus and Tramelle Howard wanted the board to vote on PBS Pinchback High School, naming it after the first African American governor of Louisiana.

“Based off the emails that I know everybody received on our school board, there has been tremendous support saying PBS Pinchback should definitely be considered,” said board member Lanus.

However, some board members like David Tatman and Connie Bernard did not want any school in the district to be named after someone again.

“I am not for naming any of our schools in the future after individuals. I think we need to get away from that, I think the issues relative to the costs related to the changes,” said Board Member Tatman.

"I took notes (Monday), several other people in the audience and on the committee expressed the desire that the school not be named after a person," said Board Member Bernard.

After the motion to rename Lee High School to PBS Pinchback Magnet High School, a majority of the board then voted in favor of renaming the school just Liberty High School.

Over 5,000 people participated in the survey.

The 13-person renaming committee was filled with former teachers, students, community members, and more.

Some board members and members of the renaming committee on Monday did express the desire that if the name couldn’t change to PBS Pinchback Magnet High School, that some buildings on campus be renamed after influential African Americans in American history.

Board President Gaudet says this whole process to rename and rebrand Lee High School will probably cost around $250,000 to $300,000.

The goal is to get a new name for the high school in time for the start of the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 6.

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