Flag Was Originally Part of School’s Mascot
A central Texas high school known as the "Rebels" for more than 40 years has now banned the Confederate flag from campus. The Hays CISD school board voted 5-2 Monday night to change the district's dress code. "To add language that specifically addresses the Confederate flag as a symbol that we don't allow on our campuses or any school district property," says district spokesman Tim Savoy. He tells KTRH that district leaders and school board members felt it was time for this move. "The thought process is we want to have a school district that's inviting to everyone."
The Hays High School mascot has been the Rebels since the school's inception in the 1960s, and until 2000 the Confederate flag was part of the school's mascot and logo. Now, with the makeup of the student population changing, the district decided to go a step further. "We're one of the fastest growing school districts in the state," says Savoy. "We have a changing demographic as well, we are now 68% minority students, so we're very different from where we were 10, 15 years ago." He added that the district is also more confident now in case law that will back up the legality of this move. "Particularly given the history of the flag in our district, and the potential for it to cause problems in the educational environment."
In recent years, courts have generally upheld restrictions on student dress and appearance that could reasonably harm or conflict with a learning environment. It remains to be seen if this move will be challenged in court. Also potentially on the horizon is a battle over the Hays fight song, "Dixie," which the school has kept over objections by some who claim it too is racially insensitive. For now, "Dixie" will play on but the symbol of Dixie is permanently gone from the Hays campus.