Orange County Schools leaders approve plan to rename Robert E. Lee Middle School

An Orange County middle school named after a Confederate general may soon get a new name.

The school board met Tuesday to discuss changing the name of Robert. E. Lee Middle School to College Park Middle School.

The plan was approved 7-1 during Tuesday's meeting.

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The Orange County School District jumped into the controversy last summer, when the superintendent ordered the image of the Confederate flag and rebel mascot removed from the front of the building.

An advisory group then recommended the name change, which may come at a cost of $20,000.

The school began exploring other options after a mass shooting at a historically black Charleston church sparked a national debate about Confederate symbols.

The school has had its current name since 1955.

Parents were surveyed last year on what the new name should be, and while many supported the idea of changing the school's name, some suggested names like “Politically Sensitive Middle School” and “We Surrendered to the Whiners.”

Survey results showed 54 percent of students supported changing the name, but most wanted it to be shortened to Lee Middle.

The school board often names new schools, but renaming an old school is rare.

School board member Nancy Robbinson once attended the school and sent her children there. She plans to support a name change.

“The location’s the same. The wonderful learning will continue. To me, it’s just a name change,” Robbinson said.

Supporters of the change said Lee’s name and the rebel mascot represent oppression of African-Americans. Opponents said the general is part of American history, and therefore, the name shouldn’t change.