The following Letter to the Editor was submitted for publication by Eddie Boston.
Dr. Dana West,
I am writing to you, as a taxpayer living in the city of Amarillo, to confess my disappointment in the entire school board for the circus that was last night's meeting. I attended the meeting but I was not given an opportunity to speak because I was not informed, until it was too late, that I was supposed to fill out a card to be "chosen" to speak my mind. So I am writing you this personal email, in the most respectful way that I am able, to say what I should have been able to say last night.
I won't waste your time with personal information about Robert E. Lee; there was plenty of that already at last night's meeting. However, I have other information for you that I would have presented had I been given a chance to present my perspective. I spent all day yesterday looking through Amarillo newspaper archives (on an archive website), specifically looking for any mention of an Amarillo citizen calling for the name "Robert E. Lee" to be nixed from the school's title, especially during the integration/desegregation period. I did not find one mention (NOT ONE) of a concerned citizen wishing to nix the school's name. To be sure, I also checked the minutes of AISD (found on the website; I checked each minute from the 1950's to the 1980's), and again, I found NOT ONE concern for the name to be changed. Using deductive reasoning, I can only conclude that it was NOT a concern for the citizens of Amarillo.
I also found, based on reading the minutes, that concerned citizens were at least granted a hearing, so it was not impossible for those who wanted the name to be nixed to be heard. Here is the issue: NO ONE CARED. IT DIDN'T MATTER. So why the buzz now? I will tell you why.
The name and legacy of Robert E. Lee was not an issue until the media, the press, made it one. For over sixty years, Robert E. Lee was the name of the elementary school with NO controversy whatsoever. It wasn't until the media told the masses what to think, how to feel, and what to say, that people were up in arms over this man. I used to admire and respect Amarillo Independent School District for standing out and leading like leaders should. No more. I no longer have respect for the school district to be able to lead appropriately; you have demonstrated that by getting on the bandwagon with the rest of the country and entertaining this "name oppression" nonsense. Don't get me wrong; I am not pro-slavery, and I am not pro-Confederacy. Those are Democratic creations, which I believe is why the Democrats are calling for the elimination of Robert E. Lee; he was a Democrat and statues that were erected and schools that were named after him were decisions made by DEMOCRATS. This is their way of revising their history (I don't care what so-called "historians" told you last night; conveniently they left this bit of information out) as the party of slavery, racism, and totalitarianism.
So, what happens now? Are students grades going to improve? Is every student that goes to Robert E. Lee Elementary (I am not politically correct; I WILL use the FULL, LEGAL name of this school) going to be able to go to college? Is the surrounding neighborhood now going to blossom and thrive because the name has been nixed from the school? In reality, no; but I learned last night that a good number of Amarillo citizens don't live in reality; they live in a utopian fantasy land. It makes me sad that a school district that had a good leadership record chose to be followers in this case, and entertain emotions rather than reality. Emotions do NOT make a winning argument; all it was was propaganda.
In conclusion, I am not happy with the fact that the board even entertained this case. I expected better from the school district; but I have proof now that the school district is no longer trustworthy, respectable, admirable, or capable of leadership. I am sorry if the words hurt, but that is my opinion and I am sticking to it. Have a pleasant day.