A high school in Vermont has convened a 40-member committee to study the replacement for its school mascot, the Rebel.
South Burlington High School will soon have a new mascot and its school board has appointed a 40-member committee to make decisions relating to the switch, according to The Wall Street Journal. Replacing references to the mascots on the school uniform has been estimated to cost almost $50,000.
“[If there was a] crazy terrorist group that’s racially motivated and out killing people, and they call themselves the Seahorses, you guys would be like, ‘Oh my God, let’s get this name changed,’” said Patrick Burke, South Burlington’s principal, to the student newspaper of Burlington South’s rival, Burlington High School. ($68,500-Per-Year College Ditches Awesome, Historical Mascot For Crappy, Dumb Mascot)
“I can’t remember anything that has caused this much emotion and division,” said Diane Bugbee, a mother of a senior at the school and a supporter of a new school mascot. “There are just some things that can’t be rebranded.”
Before the early 1990s, South Burlington High School’s mascot had been specifically a Confederate Rebel and photos obtained by The Burlington Free Press depicted the school’s sports teams and cheerleaders posing beside with Confederate flags.
“I thought it was Ethan Allen,” said Monica Ostby, another parent of South Burlington students, to The Wall Street Journal, referring to a Revolutionary War icon who also founded Vermont. Like Bugbee, she also favored dropping the mascot.
But local engineer, Sandy McDowell, said that the Rebel mascot could refer to others such as Rosa Parks and Muhammad Ali at a Wednesday night school meeting that lasted over three hours.
The Rebel name features on South Burlington school jerseys, banners, and signs on school property. While replacing the mascot on sports team uniforms could cost nearly $50,000, the school district superintendent notes that if students agree to wearing only one jersey for both away and home games, this amount could be reduced.
Ryan Croxford, a South Burlington senior, called the debate “really petty” and scolded the adults for “fighting over this ridiculous stuff.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Burke for comment, but received none in time for publication.
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