HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Debate has erupted once again over the name of Lee High School. A group of students have led the charge to change the name of the school, circulating a petition that is gaining momentum. A second petition to keep the Lee High School name is also going around.
A Change.org petition has been started to rename Lee High School in Huntsville. The organizing group of students behind the movement, named Lee High School Name Change, hope to rename the school Paulette R. Turner High School.
Turner was the first African-American student to integrate Lee High School, back in 1964.
The movement also requests a change in mascot and school colors. The group wants Turner High School to replace the 5 Star Generals mascot with Trailblazers, as they consider Turner to be a trailblazer herself. The petition also asks for the colors to change from blue and gray to blue and white.
The petition goes into the history of Lee High School as well as who Paulette Turner is.
Organizers with Lee High School Name Change plan to deliver the petition to the Huntsville City Schools School Board and to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
The petition, along with a 29 minute video with student testimonials, has garnered over 2,000 signatures since first being posted four weeks ago.
In their most recent post, the students said they have met with their administration and they have their full support.
They are meeting with their school board representative, and Superintendent Christie Finley, later this week. WHNT News 19 has reached out multiple times to the students behind the petition, as well as Huntsville City Schools, but at this time all have declined to comment.
As the petition is gaining traction, another Change.org petition is also circulating aimed at keeping the name as Lee High School. That petition, made just three days ago, has more than 2,500 signatures.
Many of those supporters are Lee High School alums, who fought the first name change proposal back in 2011.
For those who ask, why change the name now? Or try again? It’s important to note this is almost seven years later, with an entirely new group of students, who say the student body of Lee has changed as well.
Back in 1957 when the school first opened, 100 percent of students were white. Today, in 2017, 70 percent of Lee’s student body is African-American.