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story.lead_photo.caption The Southside High School Rebel mascot as pictured on the school website.

The Fort Smith School Board on Tuesday endorsed a measure that if approved again next month would remove the Rebel mascot and "Dixie" fight song from one of its schools.

The school district said in a statement that the board met as a committee of the whole and voted 6-0 in favor of the changes at Southside High School.

A statement on the district's Facebook page said the vote was taken while "giving great consideration to the continuing impact of perceived symbols of racism on the community, state and nation."

If approved by the same voters again at a full board meeting on July 27, the fight song would cease in the next school year. The Rebel mascot would be discontinued the year after.

The statement said the song and mascot have been in place since the school opened more than 50 years ago.

"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," it said.

Dozens of comments were posted on the district Facebook page by 7 a.m. Wednesday. Some were in favor of the change, including two that called it "long overdue," but more were against it. Those opponents contended that it went against the school's tradition, that the mascot and song aren't racist or that the vote was taken without full community input.

"Now all you need to do is change the name to Politically Correct High School, name the sloth the new mascot and your job will be complete," wrote one of several commenters who had changed her profile photo to the Rebel mascot.

The move come as South Carolina considers removing the Confederate flag from its state Capitol in the wake of the fatal shootings of nine people at a historic black church by a white supremacist. Retailers including Wal-Mart and Amazon have also said in recent days they will stop selling the flag.

Reader Vote Results

Do you agree with the Fort Smith School Board's move to remove the Rebel mascot and "Dixie" fight song from Southside High School?


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Archived Comments

  • RestoftheStory
    June 24, 2015 at 9:31 a.m.

    Is this over reaction and exaggeration? Next, they will claim that celebrating St. Patrick's Day does not include Black History so it is racist. They would be correct! It is the celebration of a specific race, and that is not a cardinal sin.
    The Confederate flag may be used by some bad people, but you cannot jump to the conclusion that all people who love the South are evil. I have never owned a Confederate flag, but I am thinking of getting several now.

  • RaylanGivens
    June 24, 2015 at 10:44 a.m.

    Not my alma mater!! Soon we wil have one team with white unis and one with black, their helmets will match their uniform color. Instead of team names they will just number them; of course they will have to skip #13 since that is bad luck apparently. They will also not be able to put anyone's last name on the jersey since there could be some names that offend someone.

  • HarleyOwner
    June 24, 2015 at 11:37 a.m.

    LOL, I knew it was just a matter of time after all this stupidity over the Confederate Flag. I wonder what will next?

  • Pobucker
    June 24, 2015 at 11:59 a.m.

    About the symbols, I don't care. I don't even have a razorback mug. It will be interesting to see who keeps wearing the now taboo rebel flag. whoa, did I just say that prophetically? nah, we're all thinking it, lol.
    I've only sworn allegiance to one flag.
    I have also sworn to uphold and defend the constitution of the nation for which it stands.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    June 24, 2015 at 12:19 p.m.

    Me too Po.

  • LR1955
    June 24, 2015 at 12:43 p.m.

    I would bet that any vehicle (car, bass boat, etc) or building that has a confederate flag on it will sustain vandal damage.

  • RaylanGivens
    June 24, 2015 at 1:43 p.m.

    99.99% of the people of Arkansas had no clue there was a Confederate star in our flag. If it's such a big deal why didn't Democratic governors take care of it during their tenure? Everyone can see the crap you sling from your monkey cage FreeSpiritMan (at least what's left after you get through eating your lunch), and everyone can see through your deceit.

  • pcrasehotmailcom
    June 24, 2015 at 2:38 p.m.

    Free, I do believe ole Roy has a pretty valid point there. Gotta ask yourself why Beebe, Clinton and Tucker didn't get rid of that "Confederate Star" (whatever that is)? Guess them old boys didn't have any more balls than Niki Haley either. That has to suck for you.

    June 24, 2015 at 5:02 p.m.

    If blacks are really that concerned about ending racism then instead of attacking historical symbols maybe they should concentrate on cleaning up their act. Five days after the shooting in Charleston a black man opened fire at a childs birthday party in Detroit and killed one person and wounded eleven more. Where is the outrage ? Hundreds of people a week, tens of thousands a year are murdered often 5, 10,15,20 at a time. Mostly by blacks. Where is the outrage ? One crazy cracker in South Carolina does something and people lose their minds. I say fry the cracker and leave my Great Grandaddys Flag alone.

    June 24, 2015 at 5:43 p.m.

    Seems white folks are offensive to black folks. When is it going to be illigal to be white????????????? Some parts of Calif have disscused removal of the American flag because it is offensive to some forigners. When well we have to remove the American flag???????