Controversy over school mascot associated with Confederacy prompts change

Past images of the Confederate soldier on the campus of South Albany High School and on its uniforms have been mostly wiped out. (Photo via Facebook/South Albany High School)

The superintendent of Greater Albany Public Schools announced Monday her decision to change a controversial school mascot that is associated with the Confederacy.

South Albany High School students will rename the rebel mascot by the end of the school year.

"We had a mascot dressed up like a Confederate soldier," said Brent Belveal, the outgoing principal of South Albany High School.

The current logo for the school is a flag with the letters SA. The logo used to have the picture of a Confederate soldier. Belveal said the image was toned down over time to be less offensive.

"We don't really have a mascot," he said.

Over the years, Belveal said families have told him they would not send their children to the school because of the connection to the Confederacy. He said he did not want the school's mascot to offend students or people in the community.

At the high school Monday, parents told KATU News they didn't see the point of changing the mascot.

"I've seen it plenty of times before taking my daughter to practice, it doesn't bother me," said Briceson Thrower.

Chris Hoff said he did not see why the district would change it. He said he couldn't see how someone would be offended by it.

"(Rebel is a) really aggressive competitor. Somebody that doesn't quit," Hoff said.

Looking at the word Rebel painted around the school, he said he didn't see its connection to the Confederacy.

"It's not even a thought that I have," he said.

Students will need to decide the new mascot by the end of the school year so the district can make changes over the summer.

Belveal said the new school logo will have to reflect the Albany area. He suggested a patriot to represent the patriotism in the community, a hawk and a lion pride to represent the school's mantra.

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