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Committee report recommends keeping Robert E. Lee High School name

The committee recommended leaving the Robert E. Lee name on the high school.

BAYTOWN – A 42-person advisory committee charged with recommending name changes for Goose Creek CISD schools, has issued their final report. The result was a recommendation to keep all the school names, but transfer one name, Green Center, from an existing facility to a new school under construction.

The committee was formed last year, after a public debate over the removal of Confederate names on buildings and public facilities all over the nation. The issue surfaced in a GC CISD board meeting, and evoked much discussion over the ensuing weeks. The initial public sentiment seemed split on changing the name of Baytown’s oldest high school, Robert E. Lee HS.

The advisory committee ended up not only dealing with the name on Lee high school, but advocating a whole new district-wide policy for naming buildings. The committee recommended that facilities be named after geographic areas, landmarks or physical attributes, or the instructional focus of the school. The report also said naming should include the principal’s legacy, and be sensitive to the diverse community they serve.

The chairman of the Facility Names Committee, Thomas Parent, said that the school board will make the final decision on changing or keeping the name on Robert E. Lee HS, and is “going to review the data, review the report and ultimately it’s in the hands of the school board to make the decision as the elected officials for GC CISD.”

The committee met five times in three months, the last meeting February 22. They proposed five outcomes, as follows:

1. Develop a pros/cons matrix to evaluate a name change;

2. Provide an estimate of costs to make the change;

3. Propose parameters for future naming considerations;

4. Develop a list of facilities that should be considered for name changes;

5. Recommend to school board no action on name change at this time.

The facilitator for the committee was attorney Tony Resendez. Through a series of surveys and live presentations, similar to debates, the various attitudes and choices were presented to committee members. At the end, they were asked to vote on naming criteria to be recommended to the school board, but the committee did not decide the question of renaming.