Superintendent Ann Roy Moore said the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that was removed from in front its namesake high school in Montgomery was never returned because it was so damaged that they received an opinion from the Alabama Attorney General’s office that it did not have to be replaced at the May board meeting.
In 2020, protesters toppled the statue during a night of protests across Montgomery in reaction to the George Floyd killing in Minnesota.
After the statue was removed from its pedestal, it was taken from the scene, but later recovered.
Normally, fines would have to be paid for its removal under the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. The school district received a determination from Attorney General Steve Marshall that the statue was so damaged that they could give the statue to a third-party without violating the act.
The letter states the statue would cost $80,000 to replace or $30,000 to repair based on an appraisal. Marshall writes that the city and the school board disagree about who owns the statue, but both groups are willing to release ownership of the statue to an interested third-party.
MPS spokesperson Jade Jones said that the Sons of Confederate Veterans now have the statue.
“The Sons of the Confederacy reached out to MPS, and they asked if they could have the statue as it is,” said Jones.
The Alabama chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans did not return a response to a request for an interview.
The statue was given to the city of Montgomery in 1908 and relocated to the school in 1960, where it remained until Jun. 1, 2020. The MCBOE controls the public property where the statue is located but argues that the city owns the statue, according to the letter.
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