Rapides Parish School Board plans to discuss Pineville High School mascot
Movement to change or keep the mascot is on the July 7th board meeting agenda
PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - The recent controversy with Pineville High School’s “Rebel General” mascot has sparked several conversations throughout the community.
Rapides Parish School Board Superintendent Jeff Powell tells News Channel Five that a discussion on the mascot has been added to the agenda for the next board meeting on July 7th.
Meanwhile, a prominent Pineville family is speaking out on why they think it’s time to change the mascot. The Tudor family has deep roots in Pineville, which is why they’re speaking out about the recent controversy regarding the school’s mascot.
Below is a letter the family composed regarding their support of changing the mascot:
The demand for racial justice continues to echo around the world, forcing our communities to recognize the role that the symbols and monuments of the Confederacy play in perpetuating racism. All five of us attended Pineville High School and loved being Pineville Rebels. We were not raised in a racist home, and in our teenage minds, “Rebels” had nothing to do with racism. It was just our mascot. It was fun, and it was part of our personal identity. Bolton Bears. Peabody Warhorses. Tioga Indians. Pineville Rebels. It wasn’t more complicated than that. Our song was “Dixie”; our flag the Stars and Bars, and our yearbook “The Kepi”. It all seemed so natural and harmless to us. It was not a rallying cry for bigotry and racism, at least not for us.
But we aren’t African-American. The burden of 250 years of enslavement, the terror of Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws, the KKK, Separate but Equal, and the ongoing inequities of our criminal justice system, didn’t weigh heavily on our shoulders. And it didn’t occur to us that the daily glorification of the great “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy was likely to be enormously painful to our African-American classmates and friends, who were reminded constantly of the barbaric behavior and conditions their ancestors faced, and the ongoing racism that they themselves had to deal with. That lack of awareness can be understood in teenagers, but as adults it is our duty to be aware of how unfair it was to so many of our friends and classmates.
So, the question now becomes, “What specific actions can we take, to stand with our African-American friends and fellow citizens during this time of need?”. Words are one thing; actions are another. What can we DO?
We can drop “Rebels” as the Pineville High School mascot, and cease glorifying the source of the most tragic, painful chapter in our nation’s history. We encourage the Rapides Parish School Board and the administration of Pineville High School to take such action immediately. Our African-American classmates and their children after them have carried the load of loving and supporting Pineville High despite the official mascot. They have been asked to do it for 50 years. That is not fair, and that is not right. We believe that it is time to let the 21st-century students of Pineville High participate in selecting an appropriate mascot for the 21st century. One that every student can wear with equal pride.
Our family loves Pineville. It is where we are from. We are proud of it. Pineville was and still is, a great place to grow up. We also see the continuing use of Confederate symbols as the identifying symbols of our beloved Pineville High School as contrary to the values that we and our beloved city stand for. We believe we have a responsibility, both in this moment and on an ongoing basis, to fight racism, bigotry, and hatred; and to right past wrongs, where we can. We hope those who love Pineville and Pineville High School will stand together with us. It’s time.
Lisa Tudor Sichel - PHS Class of '75
Bobby Tudor - PHS Class of '78
John Tudor - PHS Class of '80
Bill Tudor - PHS Class of '82
Geoff Tudor - PHS Class of ’85
We’ll continue to provide updates on this situation as it develops.
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