In Compromise, East Wenatchee School Board Will Rename Robert E. Lee Elementary

Robert E Lee School in East Wenatchee
Robert E. Lee Elementary will now be “Lee” Elementary after the Eastmont School Board voted to change the name Monday, Jan. 8.

Robert E. Lee Elementary in East Wenatchee is making a change. The Eastmont School District board voted unanimously Monday night to amend the name simply to “Lee” Elementary.

Community members in attendance largely seemed pleased. Of four people who spoke at the meeting, three favored changing the name. Outside the meeting, residents deliberated on what some said was a poor compromise.

“I’m not even really happy with it just being changed to Lee,” said parent Mickey White. “Let’s change it altogether.”

White grew up in the area. His parents were long-time local educators. His wife is Black and Korean, and together they have five kids. The youngest is six and attends Lee Elementary. White says he still gets dirty looks as a mixed-race family.

“The people that have been here a long time are always going to remember it as Robert E. Lee if you just call it ‘Lee’ school,” he said. “To me it’s a deflection, it’s the easy way out.”

An effort to re-name the school in 2015 after the racially-motivated shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, African-American church failed. It was named for Robert E. Lee in 1955.

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