Donald Trump, Harper Lee, and Spike Lee: Those are just a few of the famous names submitted to the Austin Independent School District as suggestions for the re-naming of Robert E. Lee Elementary.
Update Monday 3 p.m. The Lee Elementary Campus Advisory Council narrowed down the list to 8 names, according to a press release the district sent out Monday afternoon. The names on the list, which will be narrowed down to a final 3 by May 3, are: Barbara Smith Conrad, Bettie Mann (former Lee Elementary teacher of more than 35 years and first African American educator at the school), Elisabet Ney, Harper Lee, former AISD music director Kenneth Ragsdale, Russell Lee, Waller Creek and Wheeler's Grove. The final decision is still scheduled for May 23.
In a controversial move last month, the Austin School Board voted to change the name of the Hyde Park school. Some parents, neighbors and teachers believe the school should not be named after a Confederate general. The conversation about the school's moniker was reignited after a racially motivated shooting last year in Charleston, South Carolina sparked a national discussion about the significance and impact of Confederate symbols.
The board opened up the naming process, taking suggestions from the public. Donald J. Trump Elementary received the most nominations (45), while Robert E. Lee Elementary received 34 nominations, Russell Lee Elementary received 32 and Harper Lee Elementary received 30.
There were quite a few more non-traditional suggestions, including:
- Willie Nelson Elementary
- Politically Correct Elementary School #1
- Schooly McSchoolerson
- Adolf Hitler School for Friendship & Tolerance
- Hypothetical Perfect Person Elementary
- Flava-Flave [sic] Elementary
- Galaxy Elementary
- Kanye West Elementary
The board is scheduled to come to a final decision on May 23, and they are not required to settle on any of the names submitted here. You can see the entire list of suggestions below.