Boone Co. high school phasing out "Mr. Rebel" mascot; principal says change unrelated to nationwide efforts to remove symbols of Confederacy

Community Press, Florence, Aug. 21, 2017

New 'Rebels' logo replaces Confederate mascot at Boone Co. High School
By Melissa Reinert

The Mr. Rebel image, part of Boone County High School for 60 years, is getting phased out.

Mr. Rebel is a Confederate general who stands tall in a light blue uniform, feathered cap, and English mustache.

Principal Timothy Schlotman said the decision has nothing to do with nationwide efforts to remove symbols of the Confederacy.

Those nationwide movements amped up after a June 2015 mass shooting at an Emanuel AME Church Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after the killing of nine black worshippers, a photograph of the shooter, Dylann Roof, was circulated showing Roof waving a Confederate flag.

Calls to remove Confederate statues and other symbols have intensified after this month's deadly car attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Here in Kentucky, the city of Lexington voted unanimously Aug. 17 to remove two Confederate statues, pending approval by the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission.

At Boone County High School, the removal of Mr. Rebel has been a local decision that is considerably more low-key.

Last year Boone County High School's Site-Based Decision Making Council – which includes faculty and parent representation – decided to enact a policy stating the school would phase out using the Mr. Rebel logo.

Schlotman approached the council with the idea "because (the logo) did not fit with the global community of our building and the unity we were embracing."

Schlotman said the idea grew heavy on his heart in July of last year. He belonged to a group that hung flags representing 37 nationalities of students the Florence high school had at that time.

"Personally, I felt that the messages the flags sent did not coincide with the message some may think of with the Mr. Rebel logo," he said. "That logo just did not capture the image portrayed in the school."

A student-created logo – featuring the letter "B" for Boone with "Rebels" in smaller letters and at a right angle inside the "B" – has replaced the Mr. Rebel image. Schlotman said the school has changed its letterhead, business cards and some signage in the building.

"We are replacing things as quickly as possible," the principal said.

The gym floor was also redone prior to last school year and the Mr. Rebel logo was removed. Schlotman said the administration is eliminating the logo as it can considering the costs of replacing items. Some signage was originally provided by outside companies through sponsorship contracts and are not as easy to quickly replace.

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