One elementary school in Amarillo could soon be getting a name change.

During the board’s May meeting, Amarillo Independent School District trustees voted unanimously to initiate a process to rename Lee Elementary School. The move enables the district superintendent and staff to begin compiling a list of possible choices to replace the current name of the school. Under a policy the board adopted last month, the options could include names honoring an early Amarillo pioneer, the street on which the school is located, or the neighborhood around the school. Several members of the Amarillo Branch NAACP, which initiated the request to change the school’s name, have suggested Park Hills Elementary as a possible alternative.

Outgoing Amarillo ISD board vice president John Ben Blanchard briefly addressed the renaming process during the meeting, saying he hopes the school’s name will eventually be entirely changed.

“My hope is that the name of Lee Elementary will be changed to something that is not divisive or offensive to our community,” Blanchard said.

Lee Elementary School, which was first opened in 1951, was most recently renamed in 2018, when the board voted 4-3 to remove the words “Robert E.” from the building’s facade. Trustees Blanchard, James Allen, and John Betancourt voted against the 2018 renaming package.

Since the renaming process has been initiated, district officials are expected to present trustees with possible options at a future meeting. Once the alternative names have been presented, an official decision will be reached regarding the school’s new name.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.


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