East Bay

School Board Votes to Drop San Lorenzo High School's ‘Rebel Guy' Mascot

Many believe the Confederate-inspired image is dated and offensive.

A high school in the East Bay will move forward with plans to remove a controversial mascot.

San Lorenzo High School's request to drop its cartoon mascot known as the "Rebel Guy" was granted by the school board in a unanimous vote late Tuesday. Many believe the Confederate-inspired image is dated and offensive.

"It's been offensive for a long time," Principal Tovi Scruggs previously said in an interview with NBC Bay Area. "You can't put a cost on the emotional wellness of your students and community."

The mascot was changed in the 1990s from Colonel Rebel with a Confederate flag to the Rebel Guy.

Students felt the mascot was offensive to students of color because in their eyes the Rebel Guy backs the Confederate flag and what it stands for.

The campaign to get rid of Rebel Guy was successful after five months of education and discussion over the symbol.

While students and faculty felt the rebel guy was negative and sent a message of exclusion, others still believe the name holds a sense of pride and history for the school.

The Rebel name sparked a discussion at Tuesday's meeting. Some urged the trustees to keep the name at the school because students connected with it and helped create a brand on campus.

But it is that brand that needs to be updated, according to Scruggs.

"I remember what it was like when it wasn't Rebel Guy, it was Colonel Rebel," Scruggs said. "I remember when they ran the Confederate Flag up and down the football field. I remember seeing the Confederate Flag on Letterman jackets."

The district now has a tough decision: should San Lorenzo High keep the Rebel name or get rid of it?

"I think we actually already re-branded the Rebel name," said Yosaira Espinoza, a former student at the high school. "It's just leaving the past behind and leaving room for what it actually means now."

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