FAIRFAX, Va. -- Fairfax High School students are bidding farewell to their long-time cartoon mascot Johnny Rebel and references to the Confederacy because of complaints from black students.
Students will no longer be able to wave the red-and-blue Confederate flag at school, and the Confederattes, the student drill team, will be renamed, simply, the Drill Team.
The changes come on the heels of complaints from black students and their parents who find the Confederate references offensive, Fairfax High School Principal Harry Holsinger told The Journal Newspapers.
The mascot will be phased out gradually and replaced by a new, as yet undetermined, character.
School officials stopped short of changing the school's team name, the Fairfax Rebels, because it has deep traditional ties to the community, Holsinger said.
Students and parents opposed to the changes took their complaints to school board members, saying the phase-out action is creating needless tension at the high school.
School board members, however, said the issue is out of their hands because school principals have the authority to make such changes without the board's approval.
But the non-voting member of the school board, Rebbecca Turner, 17, said: 'I'm against the charges. I don't think the administration is going about it the right way.