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Texas school district seeks input on new name for Robert E. Lee High School — with key condition

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A Texas school district in San Antonio is asking the community to help rename Robert E. Lee High School — with a key stipulation. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

What's the story?

Northeast Independent School District in San Antonio decided last month to rename Robert E. Lee High School following the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests that spurred a national debate about symbols of the Confederacy. The board of trustees met Monday night to set criteria for the school's new name.

What's the condition?

The school will not be named after a person, but rather an idea.

"We truly believe that the idea of naming it after a particular person is volatile at this particular stage," Superintendent Brian Gottardy said.

"In our school district, right now, we do have a couple of examples that are schools that are not named after people,” NEISD spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor added. “We have the Academy of Creative Education and we also have the International School of the Americas. So at this point we are really looking for an idea, not really a person’s name."

Who is the board seeking input from?

The board set up a website for any members of the NEISD community to visit and submit suggestions through Monday. They will then review and reach a decision during an open and public board meeting in October and the name will be changed after the 2017-18 school year.

"Name submissions should embody a wholesome image that would be expected to stand the test of time. A proposed name should be welcoming and identifiable to the general public," the website reads. "The Board’s decision will not be based solely on the number of submissions received for a particular suggested name."

Will any other changes be made?

Once the new name is selected, school leaders will discuss a new mascot and names of school-sponsored organizations that might need to change to fit the district's new criteria.

Elsewhere in Texas

The Tyler ISD in East Texas is also considering renaming its Robert E. Lee High School. A majority of the school board members said they’re open to changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School, but no decision was reached at Monday's meeting.

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