Civil rights group wants Texas high school to drop Rebel mascot name

FORT WORTH, TX (KDFW) -- The President of the Fort Worth chapter of the civil rights group the Southern Christian Leadership Conference wants to eliminate Confederate traditions from Texas public schools.

Rev. Kyev Tatum believes these traditions have a negative impact on the academic success of children of color.

Tatum recently submitted a request to Birdville Independent School District’s superintendent and Board of Trustees, asking them to consider changing Richland High School’s mascot names from the Rebels, Dixie Belles and Johnny Rebel to something more inclusive.

He will ask Michael Williams, the Commissioner of Education, for support.

More than 50 percent of the district’s students are students of color.

“From the public steps of the Statehouse of South Carolina to the public classroom of Texas, it is time to take them down,” said Tatum.

Sophomore Darian Petty says he doesn't see what the big deal is about the school's mascot.

"When I think of ‘rebel,’ I don't think of the Confederate flag and stuff,” he said. “I think of it as just like any other mascot."

Some parents say the complaint is taking things too far.

"The Confederate flag has been used as a sign of hate,” said parent Aaron Griffith. “It's time to get rid of that, but the Rebs and all that stuff, I don't think matters that much."

But other parents say the complaint is justified if it even makes one student uncomfortable.

"If that's what a person wants to do, that's your personal right, but I don't think it should be on a building taxpayers are paying for,” said parent Byron Campbell.

SCLC's complaint says it wants rebels and all Confederate references gone by the first day of school.

“Ignorance is the root,” said Tatum. “Bigotry, hatred and discrimination are the fruit. So if they don't want to know the truth, then shame on them."

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