FAIRFAX, Va. — Fairfax High School announced Thursday that they will be rolling out a new school mascot. The school will be doing away with the old mascot, Rebel Pride, and changing the name to the Lions.
Principal Erin Lenart acknowledged the school's long history of mascot changes at the school, dating back to the school's original mascot, Johnny Reb, which was changed back in 1985.
"The history of the mascot change at Fairfax evolved from that removal of Johnny Reb to the Rebel Rouser to Rebel Pride. Each iteration maintained some element of Rebel, and the most recent iteration, Rebel Pride, is a phrase frequently used in tribute to the Confederacy," Lenart said.
While she made it clear she believed those involved in the change to Rebel Pride did not intend to glorify the Confederacy, "we do not have the luxury of rebranding in contradiction to what a long and well-established history already defines it to mean."
There have been many recent stories about brands reevaluating their imagine in the wake of civil unrest a protests surrounding social justice and police brutality.
Lenart said the Lions name change was actually put into motion back in September, when she began working with the City of Fairfax and Fairfax Public Schools on the mascot change.
"At Fairfax, we pride ourselves on inclusivity, family, belongingness, respect, and integrity, and given the history of Rebel, it is time for a change," Lenart said, "As we move forward, I hope that our entire community can feel whole, valued, appreciated, affirmed and supported as we rise together as the Fairfax Lions."