San Antonio district officials are cleaning out mascot costumes, athletic gear, banners and other memorabilia after removing a Confederate reference from a high school's name.
The North East Independent School District plans to auction off hundreds of items from the former Robert E. Lee High School starting Monday, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The move follows the district's decision last year to change the school's name to Legacy of Educational Excellence High in response to a national debate over commemorating the Confederacy.
The renaming last fall drew a mix of praise and criticism from students, parents and alumni, some of whom said it erased the school's history. The high school's identity and school spirit has been tied to Confederate heritage since opening in 1958.
The auction idea came from alumni questioning what would happen to their favorite mementos, district spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said.
District officials have spent weeks sorting through memorabilia associated with the Confederacy ahead of the first day of classes in August. Some artifacts will be saved for a future display in the school's library, such as a statue of Lee, who was a Confederate general.
Nearly 1,600 items will be auctioned online from July 16 through July 30, including yearbooks, T-shirts, athletic jerseys, mugs, chairs, bags and even decorative mosaics. Bidding for each item will start at a $5 minimum. If the district sells all items, sales could return at least $8,000.
"It could have been so many more items, had they gone in a different direction with that name," Chancellor said about the decision to keep the school's colors and LEE acronym.
The district projected last year that the name change would cost around $300,000. Renaming could've cost the district upward of $1.3 million without retaining the acronym, officials said.
The school will also need to amend signs and replace scoreboards and gym floor finishings before school starts.