KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — The Hays Consolidated Independent School District announced it will survey students about changing the Hays High School mascot, the Rebel, after conversations began on social media, according to a statement released by district spokesman Tim Savoy.
“We’ve made great strides by banning the confederate flag and eliminating Dixie as the fight song at Hays High School, but we also know the conversation continues regarding the rebel mascot,” Savoy wrote. “We are listening.”
The survey may be open as early as next week, and it will be for students from ninth through 12th grade in the 2020-2021 school year as well as teachers and staff members. Information
will be sent to students through their Hays CISD student Gmail accounts.
“Students and staff at the campus are the individuals who have to live with the campus mascot every day. Their voices must weigh heavily in the discussion surrounding the rebel mascot,” Hays CISD stated in the release.
Savoy said the district received several inquiries, adding that it also knows a student-led petition to change the mascot is already underway.
“We have also seen a tremendous amount of dialog on social media,” the statement continued. “Because of this high interest, and to ensure that all Hays High School students have a chance to participate in the conversation, we will most likely conduct a survey of Hays High School students to gauge their sentiment.”
In 2015, Hays CISD made a commitment to remove symbols of the confederacy, like the tune “Dixie” and the Confederate flag. Savoy said the district hoped those changes might allow them to still keep the mascot but “rebrand what it means to be a Rebel — a 21st century Rebel.”
“If it is possible to re-imagine a Rebel with no association to the south, civil war, or the confederacy – we’ll do the work it will take,” Savoy wrote. “If a change is inevitable, we are committed to undertaking that work as well.”
According to policy, any changes to the school’s mascot will need approval by the Board of Trustees.