Parents get divisive and creative in survey to rename Robert E. Lee Middle School

ORLANDO, Fla. — A new survey shows people are pushing back against suggestions to change the name of Robert E. Lee Middle School in Orlando.

The school is caught in a national and divisive debate over Confederate history.

Many suggested in a survey to change the name to College Park or Edgewater Middle School.

Document: Copy of survey

Others want the same to stay the same as it is on the front of the building.

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

A school committee is exploring the name change.

“I feel they should just keep it as Lee Middle School. That’s what I feel,” said parent Nitza Gonzalez.

Critics didn’t hold back on the open-answer survey, with some suggesting new names like, “Politically Sensitive Middle School,” and “We Surrendered to the Whiners.”

But others said it was time for a change.

One person recommended naming the school after, “an inspiring woman, person of color, or something honoring the neighborhood.”

“Personally, I think it should change because, like I said, I think we’ve already had issues with Confederate flags,” said resident Kyle Shields.

The school has been named Robert E. Lee Middle School since it opened in the 1950s, but the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina last year reignited the Confederate debate.

“I feel like people are being politically sensitive. I really do,” said Gonzalez.

“He’s the head of the Confederate Army and that war was about slavery, mainly. So I don’t think you can’t distinguish one from the other,” said Shields.

The survey asked for a mascot to replace the rebel.

Suggestions were mostly birds or animals, but one person write, “Satan,” and someone else suggested, “Blind Sheep.”

For now, the name will stay the same.

The district said renaming a school can take years, and with the school year almost over, the process will likely pick up next year.