BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There's been a push to change the names of schools and streets in one Bakersfield neighborhood due to ties to the confederacy and slavery. For one of those schools, a change is coming tomorrow and the school district says it's the right time to do so.
I think it’s very important that we understand that we cannot celebrate those that wanted to keep those enslaved, said Patrick Jackson
NAACP Bakersfield chapter president.
Jackson told 23ABC a month ago about the connotations of Plantation Elementary.
That school is part of a neighborhood in south Bakersfield where street names have ties to the confederacy. Another school in that area has also come under question, the South High Rebels.
But come Friday afternoon one change is coming. South High School will reveal their new mascot which will no longer be the rebel.
The controversy comes from that rebel name and mascot, which some say is named after a confederate general.
In a release about the decision, south high’s principal, Connie grumbling, says:
South High is a place of acceptance. Unfortunately, when the two words south and rebel are used together, there is a perception of identifying with segregation and racism. The time is right to end this perception and reminders of social injustice.
23ABC also asked our viewers about the mascot change. Of the hundreds of comments more seemed to be against than for the change.
Jessica Champlin was against the change saying:
As an alum, my classmates and I never celebrated the sins of the confederacy. Rebels stood for forging our own path and standing in defiance to things we opposed. The Johnny Rebel character was removed from the side of school back then; I’m OK with that. Leave the rebs alone.
But viewer, Valerie Sanchez said :
That shouldn't even be a question, of course they should. It should've never been anything relating to the confederates and celebrating and reflecting a racist group. There are so many other positive mascots and communities they can be reflecting and celebrating.
According to the Kern High School District, the finalized mascot replacement comes from the efforts of a mascot committee with South High alumni, staff, students, and community members.
They even asked the community for name suggestions. The reveal will take place on the South High School quad at 1 p.m. Friday.