From hair color to lunch length, quite a few changes are happening at Robert E. Lee High School. The overwhelming issue seems to be whether or not parents were properly notified.
At the beginning of the school year, several changes went into effect.
First, lunch changed from 46 minutes to 30 minutes, with an added 16-minute advisory period.
“It is kind of like a home room where relationships can be formed with a teacher that can talk them though things like character development and they can work on homework,” said Robert E. Lee Principal Dan Crawford.
Important documents like report cards and progress reports will be handed out during this time as well.
"This year, we have seen no notifications at all of anything changing at the school,” said parent Sarah Lund. “I didn't even know the principal changed until the first day."
Lund is the mother to sophomore Kathryn Wright. She is signed up for text and weekly email notifications. Still, she said she said she was unaware of the changes and became upset once her daughter complained she did not have enough time to finish her lunch.
Wright said she is irritated that she was not aware of the changes until the first day of school.
"There are kids that wait in line and then they hurry to sit down. There are not enough seats. They're forcing freshmen, sophomores and juniors all to sit in the cafeteria with only seniors able to leave the cafeteria, and that's the smallest class," she said.
Comparing lunch times to other campuses in districts around the area, 30 minutes is average.
Nacogdoches, Lindale, Troup and Chapel ISD all have 30-minute lunches. Bullard and Longview ISD have 40-minute lunches. Whitehouse ISD has a one-hour lunch.
“Fast food” is not the only complaint among parents and students. Changes to the dress code were made, again parents say, with no notification.
Students are no longer allowed to dye hair an unnatural color – such as purple, green or blue. Facial piercings are not allowed, nor are baseball caps. Lastly, students must wear their ID badges at all times, rather than just carrying them in backpacks or wallets.
"We started sending out emails in regards to that through our Blackboard connect system, so that every parent we have is aware,” Crawford said.
Several parents said they did not know what Blackboard was.
All changes at Robert E. Lee can be found online. In addition, various ways to stay updated with new information and changes made can also be found on the school’s website.