In the wake of last week’s Charleston shooting, state and local governments around the country are taking efforts to get rid of Confederate symbols and monuments. Now, some are calling for their local schools and colleges to shed their Confederate imagery as well.
In Fort Smith, Arkansas, school board members voted Tuesday to change Southside High School's "rebel" mascot and stop using “Dixie” as its fight song. The board will take a final vote on the issue in July.
“The Board understands the challenges of changing what has come to be the tradition of the Southside High School community, and will work with the student body and staff over the next year to name a new mascot and fight song for the school,” the board said in a statement on Facebook.
Over in Alabama, another high school with a “rebel” mascot may soon change its name. A superintendent in Vestavia Hills said she will look into potentially changing the team name after a columnist on AL.com criticized it.
At the collegiate level, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to consider changing its “rebel” mascot as well. According to Sports Illustrated, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) fired back at Reid, saying the mascot has "no relation" to the Confederacy.
Meanwhile at the University of Texas at Austin, student leaders have renewed their push to get the school to take down its statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
With a number of public education institution across the United States named after Confederate leaders, one California lawmaker is asking a local elementary school in San Diego named after Confederate general Robert E. Lee to change its name.
“They’re going to a school that really is named after a guy who fought his own country to protect slavery,” state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Schools should be inclusive. If they’re named after a person, they should be named after role models.”