West High School debates “rebels” mascot in community meeting

A second meeting to be held next week to discuss the possibility of changing the mascot.
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 11:38 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - West High School officials hosted a community meeting to discuss changing the school’s mascot after a student started a petition asking for change.

Since 1951, the rebels have been associated with West as their nickname. Over the past few years the school has gone away from some of the confederate imagery, but some want the name gone entirely.

In a community meeting Monday night, Knox County School leaders allowed students, teachers, parents, and alumni to come to the school and voice their opinion in a 90 minute meeting. About 40 people were in attendance and 10 people spoke at the meeting with the majority of the people speaking saying that the name should remain the same.

Beth Cooper has two kids at West and voiced her opinion to change the name in Monday night’s meeting.

“It’s the future students I’m worried about and I think they need a nick name that is inclusive for everyone, and everyone can be proud of,” she said.

While others like former students and longtime former coach Chris Lindsay is in support of the name remaining the same.

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

Lindsay said he was the creator of the current logo most commonly seen throughout the school which is the “power W”.

Lindsay said it started, in the late 90′s and in his doodling he came up with the W.

On Dec. 6, there will be another community meeting at West High School from 5:30-7:00 p.m. The following day, a one question survey will be sent out to people affiliated with the school asking if the name should be changed or not.

After that, a KCS group will make a recommendation to the Superintendent who will then take it to a naming committee, who will then bring it to the board of education.

A decision is expected sometime around March or April of 2022.

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