Robert E. Lee HS student starts petition to rename school

SAN ANTONIO – A senior at Robert E. Lee High School wants the name of her school to change.

After hearing Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro weigh in on the name last month, she started a petition to try to make it happen.

She hopes to get 1,000 signatures on her online petition by August's school board meeting. So far, she has more than 600.

"Our mascot is a Confederate soldier, and also the name of our dancers and cheerleaders -- Dixie Drillers and Rebel Rousers -- I just think that's a little bit inappropriate," said Kayla Wilson. "I have been contacted by alumni and people in San Antonio and they (agree that) the name should have been changed a long time ago. It's long overdue for a name change."

She said she also wants the mosaic Confederate flag removed from the school's courtyard.

Aubrey Chancellor, executive director of communications at North East Independent School District, in which Lee High School is located, said the mosaic flag was a gift from the class of 1970, and its future is up in the air due to a construction project in the courtyard area at the school.

She also said the name change is not up for discussion.

"Generations of families have graduated from Lee High School since 1958. It has a rich tradition, a long-standing history, and the alums have really made their voices clear that they do not want to change the name," Chancellor said. "There are many petitions circulating right now. One of them is in favor of keeping the name, not changing it, and it has more than 2,000 signatures."

Wilson said she hopes to change only part of Lee High School's name to George W. Lee, a civil rights activist.