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Education

San Diego Police Officers Association Announces Support For Changing School Name

A sign outside Robert E. Lee Elementary School is pictured, June 22, 2015.
Matthew Bowler
A sign outside Robert E. Lee Elementary School is pictured, June 22, 2015.

The San Diego Police Officers Association announced Monday that it is supporting an effort to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Paradise Hills after an officer fatally shot 37 years ago.

Amid recent controversy over the Confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse and public facilities named after figures from the South during the Civil War, several San Diego public officials called for the school to be renamed.

The union wants it to be renamed in honor of Officer Archie Buggs, who grew up in the area and whose family still lives in the neighborhood. A petition is being circulated by the San Diego Black Police Officers Association.

The four-year veteran was fatally shot in November 1978 by a then-17- year-old boy during a traffic stop in the Skyline neighborhood. The ex-soldier was shot three times in the side and finished off with a bullet to the temple.

His killer, Jesus Cecena, was recommended for parole last year, but his petition was denied by Gov. Jerry Brown. The onetime gang member, now in his 50s, is due to go before the parole board again this month, according to the union.

Linda Zintz, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Unified School District, said Board of Education policy on changing the name of schools requires significant community input.

Public meetings are likely to be scheduled for late August or early September, when the new academic year gets underway, she said.