FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Williamson County Schools superintendent approved a mascot change for the Franklin High School Wednesday after a committee presented research on the ‘Rebel’ mascot representing racism.
The school mascot changed from the Pioneers to the Rebels in 1937, named after the national personification of the common Confederate soldier ‘Johnny Reb’.
A recent petition to change the mascot claims the Rebels “represent the south’s fight for the ‘right’ to buy, sell, and own black people.”
“A mascot is an important element of the school that really represents the entire school, and because of that I have determined it is time to take that next step,” Superintendent Jason Golden told News 2 after approving the committee’s request to change the name.
But not everyone in Franklin is behind the movement.
“I’m proud to be a rebel, I’ve come from this school, my dad came from this school,” 2017 Alumnus Kyle McMean told News 2, “It’s kind of sad in some ways, I don’t think the history should change for our school, we’ve always been the rebels, maybe they can take the general off the logo.”
“We had an African American principal working there, why was she working there if she was offended by the Rebel’s insignia? If she was, she could’ve resigned, but she didn’t, she stayed on,” said Bill Russell, a parent who’s child graduated in 2020, “You can’t be offended all the time, you can’t live being offended.”
Golden said the county is known for change and growth, so the school will now accept ideas for new mascots.
“In everything we do, our goal is to serve every single one of our students the best way we can,” Golden said.
A committee of parents, students and administrators will review idea submissions and the principal will choose from the top three names.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.