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LEE Proposal: A proposal to PositiveLEE Reimagine Midland Lee High School and Midland Lee Freshman School

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Do Not Donate to Support this Proposal: We are NOT soliciting donations. Any donations made go to support this site and keep it free. We chose it because it does not push a political agenda like the others.

Why is our proposal on a petition site? This is NOT a petition. It is listed on this site to allow signatures. We are doing this so that we can allow individuals to share in and be apart of putting forth a proposal for a compromise solution. By adding your name, you are indicating that you stand in solidarity with the LEE Proposal.

We thank you so much for adding your name to this proposal and for being part of an idea to positiveLEE Re-Imagine Midland LEE High School and Midland LEE Freshman School. We are thankful and humbled by your support!


PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING IS A TEXT ONLY REPRESENTATION OF THE LEE PROPOSAL. TO VIEW PDF VERSION OF THE LEE PROPOSAL WITH IMAGES, CLICK HERE.


LETTER TO MISD BOARD AND NAMING COMMITTEE

First, let us say to the Naming Committee that we realize you are faced with an unenviable task in the rebranding of Midland Lee High School. We believe that being asked to change the Name, Mascot and Colors of a 60-year-old High School with an amazing history is a very serious task, but we urge you to consider that it does not need to be an “all or nothing”, nuclear action. Compassion for the student body, both present and future, should be a major consideration in this process and the students’ wishes should have been researched before a vote was ever taken to change the name. Financial considerations have not been researched at all and should have been done before a vote was ever taken to change the name. Almost no one was consulted in this unilateral decision.

Before you reach a decision, we ask that you put yourself in the shoes of current and future students and their parents. High school is an important and formative part of life. Many area kids look forward to being a Rebel, Bulldog, Panther, or Broncho all their lives. We are sure you looked forward to your high school career, and probably were proud to attend the school your brothers or sisters attended. Please do not rob these Midland Lee kids of the chance to experience that legacy! These students should not be punished because of something that happened almost 60 years ago! We respectively submit this proposal we believe will put the Civil War period behind us without eliminating the continuity, National recognition, pride and history of Midland Lee High School.

Our proposal encourages compromise thinking by creatively re-purposing and building upon an approach that was successfully implemented by San Antonio Lee, saving that District millions of dollars that would have otherwise been spent on replacing band and sports uniforms, gym floors, stadium signs, bus wraps, etc. These saved “rebranding” funds, whether taxpayer or donated, could be better spent to improve the education of Midland's children.

Please do not allow yourselves to be bullied or forced into a decision you know comes from a small group of people who have suddenly decided to be offended during a pandemic and a time of great uncertainty for our student bodies. Do not compound the mental anguish they are already suffering. Go with the wishes of the student body to keep the Midland Lee Rebels in some non-offensive reincarnation. Show your willingness to engage in a compromise that is fair, reasonable and fiscally responsible. Show the community and state that you are out-of-the-box thinkers who can act responsibly with fairness and compassion. But most of all, be brave and prayerful.

We urge to you to give serious consideration to adopting this proposal either in whole or part. If there are other proposals that are similar and would save the history of the schools, take ideas from all of them and combine them into a better solution.

Thank you for your time in considering this proposal,

Robby McCasland ‘86

Janie Bennett ‘76

INTRODUCTION

This proposal suggests an inclusive re-imagining of the school names and Mascots of both Lee High School and Lee Freshman School based on a set of core values that would not only positively represent the schools and the District, but also the citizens of Midland.

Proposal Objectives
  • Provide a compassionate and thoughtful solution that will provide both current and future students some stability and hope during the traumatic chaos that was first caused by the Global Pandemic, and now the possibility of the sudden abolishment of their entire 60-year school legacy of achievements with no warning.
  • Provide a common sense and fiscally responsible solution that would save money that could be better used for the general benefit of MISD students and teachers. We estimate that a complete rebranding of both schools would cost upwards of 3 million dollars. This may even be a conservative estimate when you consider the scope of the changes that would have to be made (i.e., band/sports uniforms, gym/school floors, walls and doors, bus wraps, all signage, etc., for both schools plus locations all over Midland).
  • Save the legacy of past and current students by retaining enough of the current school identity to salvage the Nationally Renowned Midland Lee Rebel Brand.
RE-IMAGINING MIDLAND LEE


Re-imagining the name

We propose that the name LEE become an acronym for a set of core beliefs and aspirational values to be chosen by the student body and staff of both schools. The acronym would help define their mission, their ideal school culture, and their goals as an educational institution. The key words that would be represented by the LEE acronym should be the first consideration and would be the foundation for redefining the guiding principles of the schools.

By retaining the LEE name but in a new form with a new meaning, the existing and incoming students retain a sense of continuity and the 60-year Midland LEE National branding legacy stays intact, while all negative connotations are erased. A Nationally recognized brand is priceless and would take years to regain in any form. Abandoning the school name entirely would have unintended consequences for decades. Surely some sort of compromise is in order! So far it appears that all of the compromises are required of those who want to keep some form of the name, and NO compromise is being required of those wishing to change the name. We ask that the Naming Committee and the MISD be open to any ideas that will allow some give and take on this issue. The student body does not want the name to change!

Core and/or aspirational values for your consideration

Group 1

  • Leadership – Leadership is the act of leading and involves the ability to inspire, plan, motivate and achieve goals and objectives. These are qualities we should instill in our young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.
  • Empowerment – Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights. In its simplest form it allows us the autonomy to represent one's interests, lead, and make decisions in a responsible and conscientious manner. In preparing young people for future leadership, should we not be providing them with the skills and autonomy to be able to live an informed life?
  • Equality – Equality is defined as the state of being equal, especially in status, rights and opportunities. This includes respect for the dignity of the individual regardless of their economic status, race, gender, beliefs or abilities, and the understanding that their own well-being is deeply tied to the well-being of others. In its most basic form, equality is treating others as you would have them treat you.
Using these core and aspirational values, a Mission Statement could be:

“Midland LEE – Creating Leaders through Empowerment and Equality.”



Group 2

  • Legacy – In its simplest of terms, a legacy is one generation leaving something meaningful behind for future generations. It’s a tradition that exists as a result of someone’s achievement that continues to exist after they are gone. A legacy is an interconnection across time, with an appreciation for those who have come before us and a responsibility to those who come after us. Note: several other Lee schools in Texas have used Legacy as the “L” in their acronyms when they updated their school names.
  • Equality – Equality is defined as the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. This includes respect for the dignity of the individual regardless of their economic status, race, gender, beliefs or abilities, and the understanding that their own well-being is deeply tied to the well-being of others. In its most basic form, it is treating others as you would have them treat you.
  • Education – The word Education almost speaks for itself, giving our young people the skills, knowledge, discipline, and values necessary to be successful and productive citizens. Education broadens their horizons and gives them a sense of accomplishment, whether through science, government, mathematics, writing or language.


Using these core and aspirational values, a Mission Statement could be:

“Midland LEE – Creating a Legacy through Equality and Education.”



The important goal is to choose core and aspirational values that are representative of the current and future students, their parents, teachers, coaches and alumni of the schools.

Re-imagining the items related to Spirit and Traditions

Retain Rebels as the name of a reimagined mascot
Since the Midland Lee Rebels are already a Nationally recognized brand, we propose that the Mascot remains the Rebels. However, the Mascot should be reimagined into the 21st century to reflect the core values foundational to the LEE acronym. The reimagined Mascot would not have Confederate symbols associated with it or resemble anything from the Civil War era.


Mascot Ideas:

"Original American Rebels" would be a Patriotic, multi-racial and gender-inclusive Fife and Drum Corps and Flag Line (American, LEE, Texas). The photo shows military uniforms, but these young Rebels would not have been old enough to join the fight for freedom or own property, so perhaps Colonial attire in school colors like those in the play Hamilton would be more appropriate. A Spirit of ’76 marching tune has been written for this option. These Rebels laid the foundation for the freedoms and equality we all aspire to today.


RebeLEE or Rebel would be a one or two dog mascot that might inspire students to conduct a yearly fundraiser to have a Service Dog trained for a Disabled Veteran and presented to this Veteran at a football game. The RebeLee or Rebel dog Mascot could also be used along with other Mascot options involving people as a “sidekick”. This idea was a big hit with the kids!


Scottish Highland Rebels or Braveheart/William Wallace Rebels represent a group of people who never owned slaves and who also fought against the tyranny of the British for Freedom. Many of these Highland Rebels migrated to America after their defeat at Culloden and fought in the American Revolution, then their families moved across the South and ended up in Texas. The use of a Bagpipe combined with a diverse Fife & Drum Corps/Flag Line is even possible with this idea.


Regardless of the Mascot chosen to represent the word Rebel(s), we believe that the faculty, students and Alumni of the schools are creative people who can come together to do an amazing re-imagining of the Mascot with the goal of positively representing Rebels in the 21st century. We believe it is only the symbolism of the word Rebel that must change, not the word itself. We see no logical or rational reason to demonize a word down to a singular meaning and a singular event in history, especially when there are so many positive examples throughout history.

See Appendix A for a discussion of “Rebel” and positive examples throughout history.


Retain the School Colors

We propose that the colors of the schools remain maroon, white and “pewter” (if the word “gray” is somehow still offensive). Note: The new $300,000 band uniforms are PEWTER in color.

Retain much of the School Song

We propose that the tune of the school song remain and the reference to Robert E. Lee be replaced by Midland LEE. If there are still additional words that indirectly refer to the former namesake or the Confederacy, the song should be reimagined while retaining the tune.

Examine and, if necessary, reimagine other Spirit and Tradition symbols/items

We propose that a committee or committees of LEE Rebel "Reimagineers" be formed to carefully and thoughtfully examine these symbols/items. The committee(s) would be composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents of the schools. The committee(s) would base their examinations on a standard that would require removing all references to the former namesake and the Confederacy, while insuring that symbols/items positively represent the schools and the new core values. Using this standard, their charge would be to either recommend removal of the symbol/item; recommend preserving the symbol/item intact; or recommend re-imagining the symbol/item.

See Appendix B for removal of Confederate items

RE-IMAGINING PROCESS

The re-imagining process should be open, transparent and inclusive, and done in a creative and thoughtful manner. Consideration should be given to the opinions of the current students and they should be given greater weight in the decision-making process. This is their moment to make a contribution and leave their mark. For them, the renaming has to be difficult to endure, and coupled with a pandemic, you have the making of a traumatic and chaotic experience. As a compassionate gesture, we suggest this idea be considered.

Involvement of faculty, staff, administration, parents, and alumni in the decision making is also very important and invaluable. These individuals have life knowledge and experiences, as well as creative ideas to share.

CONCLUSION

This proposal moves both schools into the 21st century, removes all Civil War references and allows everyone to look to the future while preserving the proud history of the Midland Lee Rebels’ Nationally recognized legacy of achievements. The proposal encourages compromise and fiscal responsibility. It creatively re-purposes and builds upon an approach that was successfully implemented by San Antonio LEE, which saved that District millions of dollars by saving LEE as an acronym, their Mascot and their colors, money that would have otherwise been spent on complete rebranding. These funds, whether taxpayer or donated, could be better spent in improving the education of Midland's children.

Our proposal preserves the Midland LEE Rebel brand, National identity and proud culture, as well as its legacy and history. It keeps some semblance of the Midland LEE name, spirit and traditions that have been built by every class since the school’s inception and removes anything offensive. We encourage all parties responsible for this decision to please do the right thing and COMPROMISE!



APPENDIX A

Discussion of the word "Rebel"

The word Rebel is common in the American and World lexicon. Rebels are free spirited, revolutionary and visionary. They are leaders and doers who buck conventional methods and ideas to test new, innovative ones. They seek alternatives to do things better and are always seeking to improve the conditions around them. They work to improve their world and fight injustice. Rebels have a spirit of loyalty and patriotism that is uniquely American.


During the American Revolution, the English called the American Colonists Rebels.

It is used in entertainment such as the Rebel without a Cause or the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars franchise. Many children are named Rebel, for example, Rebel Wilson or LHS graduate Rebel Sowell.

There have been many positive Rebel role models throughout history such as:

  • American Revolution
  • Texas Revolution
  • Boxer Rebellion
  • Polish Solidarity Movement
  • The Jews who died at Masada after a long Roman siege during the last of a rebellion against Rome.
  • Individual examples include:
    • Spartacus led a slave revolt against Ancient Rome
    • William Wallace led the Scottish people in their fight for freedom from England and gave his life for that dream of freedom
    • Galileo rebelled against the Catholic Church of his time and was labeled a heretic for his revolutionary scientific ideas.
    • Sitting Bull
    • Geronimo
    • Nelson Mandela
    • Rosa Parks
    • Joan of Arc
    • Susan B. Anthony

Specific Examples:

Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King were rebels who fought against injustice and for basic human rights. They fought to end systems that were morally wrong and sought to bring about positive change for the world around them. Both of these noble and admirable individuals paid the ultimate price at the hands of an assassin.
for being rebels

Perhaps, the greatest and most revered rebel of all is Jesus Christ. Rebelling against the Roman and Jewish authorities, Jesus fought against injustice and the conventional legalism of the day. Jesus confronted the authorities on many occasions. He drove the money changers from the temple. Jesus outwitted the Pharisees with his unconventional wisdom. He defended the helpless against injustice with wise words that left his enemies paralyzed to act against the truth of what he said. Jesus was considered a rebel, but he brought about change and started a movement and set of beliefs that have survived the test of time.

These are just a few of the many groups and individuals considered positive examples of rebels in history.

One could also argue that the people who came forward with the renaming effort are rebels. We are certainly Rebels for bringing forth this proposal.

APPENDIX B

Donated Items

In all likelihood, there will be items that contain Civil War imagery that will be removed from the campuses of LHS and LFHS. In these cases, MISD should make a good faith effort to return these items to the individual or individuals who donated them. For items that cannot be returned, they should be put up for auction in two phases. The first of these auctions should be limited to LHS and LFHS current students and alumni. For items that do not sell to this group, they should be placed up for auction to the General Public. The proceeds of all auctions should benefit LHS and LFHS.

It is only the Confederate symbolism of the word Rebel at our school that we believe must change, not the word. We see no logical or rational reason to demonize a word down to a singular meaning and a singular event in history. Especially, when there are so many positive examples throughout history. To do so, is rather narrow minded and irrational - almost to the point of being asinine.

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