Board votes to change Robert E. Lee school name

Posted at 2:04 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 22:19:06-04

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday voted unanimously to change the name of Robert E. Lee Elementary School to Pacific View Leadership Elementary School.

The school's name change will take effect on Aug. 1.

Calls for the name change rose last year amid a nationwide movement to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places. However, surveys of the school community in Paradise Hills and of the public at large showed widespread support for keeping the name as-is, or at least maintaining "Lee" in the title.

The school was named for the Civil War general when it opened in 1959 in honor of his contributions as an American soldier, according to the district. Lee was a longtime U.S. Army officer, but as a resident of Virginia, sided with the South in the war between the states.

According to the district, no consensus was reached about the moniker at a pair of community meetings last year. The surveys showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents didn't want to change the school name and just over half wanted to keep "Lee" as part of a new name if a switch were to be made.

District officials turned the issue over to its Schools Name Committee, which unanimously recommended a name change.

Students and teachers at the school narrowed potential new names to Pacific View Leadership Elementary and Amelia Earhart Elementary, and Pacific View received the most votes in an election in which students, staff, parents and family members cast ballots, according to the district.

The naming committee concurred with the selection and forwarded the recommendation to the school board for ratification.

The school's student body is now three-quarters Hispanic and only 2.5 percent white, according to the district.