Tyler civic and community leaders predict high school names will be changed

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A historic moment in East Texas is fasting approaching as Tyler ISD board members will discuss and vote to change or keep the name of Robert E. Lee and John Tyler high schools.

Speaking with the community, local leaders are optimistic the names will change.

“I can never predict what people are going to do, but all signs lead to the names being changed,” said Darryl Bowdre, former city council member.

“Other school boards have already unanimously done it so the question becomes why not Tyler?” said Kilton McCraken, pastor of Fredonian Baptist Church.

Both men believe the decision will impact Tyler for years to come and become a symbolic moment in history.

“There’s a reason why there’s a north Tyler and south Tyler. Because we can be divided at times, it would show that Tyler is trying to progress toward some kind of unity, ” said McCracken.

“For the future of Tyler it’s important for the education for the young people that matriculate there,” said Bowdre.

Since 2018, there have been multiple online petitions created, hundreds of people gathering at TISD board meetings, and some students refusing to wear the name of their school.

Now, the Tyler ISD board president, Wade Washmon, says he’s ready to have this discussion with the community and hopefully get back to helping students.

“It’s wise to eliminate hurdles where you can in order to more adequately serve our kids and community,” said Washmon.

The meeting will be held at the Tyler ISD building (Jim Plyer Instructional Complex), on Thursday at 6 p.m.

If the board votes to change the names, Tyler ISD will consider implementing a new policy revising the current naming process

Renaming Guidelines

  • A school facility may be named after any patriotic belief, principled ideals, values, desired qualities or aspired outcomes for District students or the community
  • A facility may be named after any local, state, or national geographic area, landmark, or physical attribute
  • A portion of a school facility may be named after a person who has served the District or community directly. Such portions of school facilities may include (but are not limited to)
    theatres, gymnasiums, fields, libraries, halls or corridors, or other sub-areas of a school facility.

When introducing these changes, the district struck out the following guidelines.

  • A facility may be named after a person who has served the District or community
  • A facility may be named after any local, state, or national heroic figure

Members of the community may make suggestions on a new name, and the Superintendent may appoint a selection committee to review them. In the end, the Superintendent would introduce three options for a new name, and the final option lies with the board.

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