Change West Monroe High School’s Racist Rebel Mascot (PETITION OPEN TO ENTIRE PUBLIC)

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WHEN SIGNING PETITION: This petition is available for the ENTIRE public to sign, BUT!! IF YOU EVER ATTENDED OR WORKED AT WMHS (student, faculty, staff, etc.), PLEASE INDICATE YEARS ATTENDED/WORKED IN PARENTHESES WITH YOUR LAST NAME. Ex: John Apple (Student 2010-2014)

West Monroe High School has a long history of racism, and one of the most prominent depictions of that racism is the Rebel mascot.

Originating from the Confederate soldiers who lost the Civil War, a rebel mascot is symbolic of racism and oppression in this country.

Any changes WMHS has made thus far to dilute the school’s association to the Confederacy have been futile and insulting, particularly to the Black students, staff, and faculty who walk these halls and serve our community every day.

Flying the confederate flag on game days was banned only a few years ago in 2015; depictions of the flag on clothing are still allowed; and the Rebel Band – dressed in their confederate gray uniforms – plays variations of the song “Dixie” at pep rallies and games. When describing football games at WMHS (in approx. 2013), a teacher once said, “It feels like I’m at a Klan meeting.” Even the Rebel Raiders drill team uniform closely resembles the confederate flag. Many of the WMHS student-athletes are Black, and playing songs like “Dixie” while girls dressed as the flag dance with the mascot formerly known as “Johnnie Reb” is a clear microaggression at best.

These are not symbols of heritage or patriotism. They are symbols of hate and racism. True patriotism should be about including and empowering all of our WMHS community.

The West Monroe High School community is calling for a ban to all symbolism associated with the confederacy including: total ban of depictions of the confederate flag on campus, a ban of “Dixie” at school functions, a change in the Rebel mascot, a change in the Rebel Band and Rebel Raiders’ uniforms, and retiring The Rebel Man. While some of these items are rumored to be in the workings of being banned, it is crucial that ALL of these changes are implemented ASAP. Violations of these new policies should result in immediate and thorough disciplinary actions.

These changes are long overdue and are essential for all students to feel comfortable at school. We speculate that these changes are so long overdue because WMHS administration continuously prioritizes keeping their racist donors happy over keeping their Black athletes, dancers, cheerleaders, band members, and student fans safe and comfortable.

Ouachita Parish School Board superintendent Don Coker and West Monroe High School principal Shelby Ainsworth have a responsibility to make these changes.

Sincerely,

Current WMHS students and alumni (spanning several decades)

REMINDER: We encourage EVERYONE who cares about this issue to sign this petition. BUT!! WHEN SIGNING PETITION: IF YOU EVER ATTENDED OR WORKED AT WMHS (student, faculty, staff, etc.), PLEASE INDICATE YEARS ATTENDED/WORKED IN PARENTHESES WITH YOUR LAST NAME. Ex: John Apple (Student 2010-2014)