LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Atherton High School is retiring the Rebel.
Last week, the school’s site-based decision making (SBDM) council decided the mascot needed to be changed in the name of racial equity. The decision comes after Jefferson County Public Schools officials asked each school to evaluate their mascots based on the Racial Equity Analysis Protocol (REAP).
The REAP is an eight-question prompt designed to get school leaders to think about the racial equity of their institutions.
“Is this image, or is this mascot, culturally appropriate," district spokeswoman Renee Murphy said. "Is it culturally sensitive? And so, we’ve asked schools to take that step to make sure what they’re presenting is an equitable image that is fair for all students.”
Fairness is a concept Shannon Fauver told WAVE 3 News she has thought about at length. Fauver is an Atherton High School alumnus, a current Atherton parent, and a member of the school’s SBDM council. She said for her family, the word “rebel” symbolizes something different from what many others believe it does.
“It’s somebody who fights against the system if there’s a problem, that kind of thing,” Fauver said. “As opposed to being a rebel for the war.”
Fauver told WAVE News the rebel mindset was paramount in her career choice as an attorney.
“I fought against the system if I think something’s not correct," she said. "So, that’s the kind of rebel I was raised as and that’s what I always associate it with, as do my children. But that’s not the rebel that most people think of in their head when they hear about it.”
Fauver said despite her personal experience with the Rebel mascot and mindset, she understands why it can be seen as insensitive and supports the SBDM council’s decision to make a change.
“I understand why we’re changing it because we don’t want anyone to feel like they’re not welcome at the school.”
This is not the first time Atherton has made changes to its mascot. In the ’70s, the school changed the Rebel from a confederate soldier to a Revolutionary War soldier, bearing similarities to Paul Revere.
Fauver told WAVE 3 News the council has not chosen a new mascot.
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