RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia high school will no longer use a Confederate-related nickname, officials announced.
Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County will drop the name “Rebels” based on the results of a community poll and a recommendation from a school committee that supported the change, news outlets reported Thursday.
Nearly two-thirds of the poll’s 1,500 respondents voted to change it, The Richmond Times-Dispatch said.
The school’s mascot was once a Confederate soldier, but it swapped out the visual mascot with a logo using the school’s initials in recent years, according to news outlets. The mascot was adopted when the school was opened in 1954 and only accepted white students, The Times-Dispatch said.
The nickname and the mascot were inspired by Douglas Southall Freeman, the Richmond journalist, historian and author that the school was named after, news outlets said. Freeman received a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Principal John Marshall said the name was not representative of the school’s goal to be “an inclusive, welcoming community” for everyone, according to an email sent to the school community that was obtained by news outlets.
“We want every member of our community to proudly cheer the name of our teams from the sidelines without wondering if they are hurting their classmates or betraying their identity,” Marshall said in the email.
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