Lee elementary
A bronze bust of Confederate general Robert E. Lee is seen in the median on Monroe Street in Fort Myers, Florida, August 18, 2017. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education approved renaming two public schools Monday night after the issue of changing the names of the elementary schools, stemmed from the questionable backgrounds of the historical figures they were named after, cropped up earlier this year.

The names of Columbus and Chouteau elementaries were changed to Dolores Huerta Elementary and Wayman Tisdale Fine Arts Academy respectively, and the changes will take effect on July 1.

Local daily Tulsa World reported that the name Tisdale Fine Arts Academy garnered a standing ovation from the audience when the school board members voted to rename the schools.

Huerta is one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century and was the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association. Tisdale, on the other hand, is an American basketball player and an alumnus of Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa.

The board, however, decided to delay implementing the name change for Robert E. Lee Elementary to Lee School — a decision it took in April — to August 6. Until then, Robert E. Lee Elementary School will be called by its site code. The board decided to create a new committee to consider other names for the school.

In March 2018, the board considered renaming four Tulsa elementary schools following a petition seeking to change the name of Lee Elementary after white supremacists clashed with counter-demonstrators over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.

Lee was a Confederate general, a slaveholder and a Mexican War veteran.

“No one wants to see Tulsa be the next Charlottesville. There’s not much we can do to fight against White Supremacists in America, but this is something we CAN do. We have control over who we glorify,” the petition said, the Oklahoma Eagle reported.

“As communities throughout the nation have grappled with how we reflect our history and values through the naming of buildings, sites, and monuments, Tulsa Public Schools made the decision to convene our Community Advisory Council to take on the work of understanding when, why, and for whom our buildings and sites are named,” Tulsa Public schools said in a joint letter, Fox 23 reported.

“After listening to community feedback, reviewing the research, and discussing potential changes with members of the Tulsa Board of Education, we have identified four schools to recommend for potential renaming: Chouteau, Columbus, Lee, and Jackson elementary schools,” the letter said.

In May this year, the Tulsa schools board voted 4-3 to retain Robert E. Lee Elementary School’s controversial surname, scheduled to take effect on July 1, but many questioned the decision, saying the change wouldn't do enough to remove its Confederate origins.

With the backlash, the board wrote to parents on June 15 that it will discuss delaying the July 1 date of the official name change.

“It’s a symbol of the Lost Cause ideology, if we just call it Lee, we fail to reckon with the history,” Joshua Schultz, a parent, said.