Tampa school honoring Robert E. Lee engulfed in flames

Tampa's historic Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies & Technology also known as Robert E. Lee Elementary was engulfed in flames Tuesday night

Tampa's historic Lee Elementary Magnet School of World Studies & Technology also known as Robert E. Lee Elementary was engulfed in flames Tuesday night

Lee Elementary School, just north of downtown Tampa, caught fire shortly after power was restored Tuesday night.

City archives show the school was named the Michigan Avenue Grammar School when it opened in 1906, but was renamed after Lee around 1917.

Officials don't believe the fire to be suspicious, however they are still investigating the cause of the inferno.

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It appears the school will be a total loss.

Officials with the Hillsborough County School District say they will have more to say to the media later Wednesday. The school has about 330 students and 49 staffers.

The oldest magnet school in Hillsborough County, which some school board members were trying to rename as part of a nationwide movement to remove Confederate symbols, burned down as hundreds of residents watched and children cried.

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Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins has authorized an emergency supplement for every staff member at Lee Elementary School.

School district grief counselors will be available for students and staff beginning Thursday morning at Lockhart Elementary Magnet School.

The school had been under the media scope this year with discussion about changing the name of the institution, which was renamed after General Robert E. Lee back in 1943. The world studies program was added in 2008. That's because of a school district policy that requires at least 18 months after the board agrees to take up the issue so the community can have time to weigh in on the decision. "The district is also coordinating with other schools, asking school staffs from across the district, to roll up their sleeves and help set up the new classroom space at Lockhart Elementary this Friday, September 15".

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