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Taking on the 'Rebels': another mascot comes under fire

Some parents at South Albany High School say the nickname evokes the white southern cause.

Posted: Feb 20, 2018 10:52 PM

ALBANY, Ore. -- Several dozen members of the South Albany High School community gathered on Tuesday night to discuss the future of the school's mascot.

Some parents say "The Rebels" is too reminiscent of the southern Confederacy during the Civil War. Others say the nickname is harmless and that those who want change are being oversensitive.

"To change something because it's had bad connotations in the past, well, where do you draw the line?" Juan DeLeon, a parent and coach on the high school's wrestling team, said. "Do you take the eagle off the quarter because the Nazis used it?"

But Heather Carmichael, a district parent who moved to the area from Georgia, disagreed.

"Coming to Albany, and then seeing Rebel symbols, it was really confusing for me because all I had known of those symbols were the racist meanings behind them," she said.

Tonight's community discussion was the first of three. The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night in the high school commons.

Officials said about 60 people have already signed up online.

Earlier this month South Eugene High School changed its nickname from the Axemen to the Axe in order to be more inclusive to female students.

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