Community meeting

West High School discusses ‘rebels’ mascot at community meeting

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WVLT) – West High School officials held a community meeting to discuss the change in the school’s mascot after a student started a petition calling for the change.

Since 1951, the rebels have been associated with West as a nickname. In recent years, the school has moved away from some Confederate images, but some want the name to go away altogether.

At a community meeting Monday evening, Knox County School leaders allowed students, teachers, parents and alumni to come to the school and have their say in a meeting 90 minutes. About 40 people were in attendance and 10 people spoke at the meeting, with the majority of people speaking saying the name should stay the same.

Beth Cooper has two children in West and expressed her opinion on changing the name at Monday night’s meeting.

“It’s the future students that worry me and I think they need a nickname that is inclusive for everyone, and that everyone can be proud of,” she said.

While others, like alumni and longtime former trainer Chris Lindsay, argue the name remains the same.

“Elvis was a rebel, I mean rebels are rebels,” he said.

Lindsay said he was the creator of the current school-wide logo, which is the “W of Power”.

Lindsay said it started in the late 90s and while doodling he invented the W.

On December 6th, there will be another community meeting at West High School from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm The next day, a one-question survey will be sent to those affiliated with the school to ask if the name should. to be changed or not.

After that, a KCS group will make a recommendation to the superintendent who will then present it to a nominating committee, who will then present it to the school board.

A decision is expected around March or April 2022.

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