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Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018
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Students urge board to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary in Tampa

Now that the Confederate flag has come down from a Hillsborough County building some students want to remove a name from a school.

Those students attended Hillsborough’s school board meeting on Tuesday and asked members to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School on East Columbus Drive in Tampa.

It is offensive for black children, they said, to attend a school named after the general who led the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

“This hurts our feelings,” one child said. “We are human beings.”

The children attend a summer program called “Kids, Not Criminals.”

“Nobody would accept Hitler’s name on a school, so we can’t accept this,” another student said.

The students spoke during a public comment period and school board members did not discuss the item, which was not on the agenda.

Two weeks ago, Hillsborough County commissioners voted to remove the Confederate flag form the lobby of the Frederick B. Karl County Center, where it had hung for 20 years.

The flag was the third flag of the Confederacy and was part of a display of lobby flags that have flown over Tampa throughout its history — representing the United States, Spain, France and Great Britain. All five flags were moved to the Tampa Bay History Center downtown.

While acknowledging the flag and the rebel government were an important chapter in Florida and Southern history, most commissioners said the flag is too painful and divisive an image to hang in a government building.

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