A second high school in Texas is refusing to be daunted by the current Confederate frenzy. The superintendent of Evadale High School in east Texas says there are no plans to change the role that the flag has played in the high school since the 1950’s, according to a report by KFDM in Beaumont, Texas.
Evadale High School in Evadale, Texas, is located in the southwest portion of Jasper County near the Louisiana-Texas border.
The 2015 valedictorian of the high school told KFDM, “It’s always just been you know kind of a pride thing for our school.” She continued, “If you look at our emblem it’s not just the Confederate flag, it shows symbols of everything that we represent academically and also outside of school with extracurricular activities and such.”
Her father, Milton Richardson, told the area television station, “It’s always been a symbol of pride and a symbol you know, of our mascot, the fighting rebels. You know the rebel soldier was a mighty fighting warrior, so we kind of tend to like that tradition.”
The valedictorian’s uncle, Larry Richardson, told the station, “And my brother and myself and a bunch of more other of us all went in the army you know to fight for the freedom to be able to fly whatever flag you know we want to fly.” He said, “You know, I was a rebel from way back. We come over to this school in 1955 when it was first built, and it’s always been the rebels.”
Jamie Richardson said, “For us, the Confederate flag has never been about hate or racism, and it’s never been used to discriminate students, or any group of people. It’s always just been kind of a pride thing to be proud of our school.”
The young woman acknowledged the controversy, but said all views should be considered. She told the station, “We should be able to have the right to fly that flag, and that’s an individual right, but I can see where it could possibly offend someone and I know as a person who cares about people and loves people that I could understand if someone wanted to express their opinion about how it would be wrong to fly that flag, and I just think we should understand it from all points of view.”
The school has to-date not received any official complaint. A high school in north Texas has not been so lucky.
Supporters at a school in North Richland Hills, Texas, also believe they should be able to keep their mascot ties to the Rebels.
A “Save Our Richland Rebels” rally for Richland High School supporters was organized after local civil rights activist, Rev. Kyev Tatum, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education and the Texas Education Agency. The activist filed the complaints even though the Confederate flag is not part of the school logo. Breitbart Texas’ Merrill Hope reported that students, parents, and supporters showed up for an impromptu rally on Sunday.
Supporters plan to pressure the school district’s leaders to fight the complaints.
The Facebook page created to support the school’s mascots has received 7,113 “Likes” as of the time of publication of this article.
Keauna Willis, a black student at Richland High School wore a Dixie Belles T-shirt at the rally. She told KXAS-5, “I really don’t want to change our name. What would we be other than Dixie Belles?”
A white male parent from the north Texas school said, “To be a Rebel has nothing to do with the Confederate army.”
Another supporter complained that while the activist that filed the state and federal complaints represents a faith-based organization, “what he is attempting to do in our community is create racial hatred and strife.”
These actions to condemn the Confederate flag, and Confederate soldiers, come after the shooting of nine blacks at a Charleston church by a racist white gunman.
Breitbart News reported that President Obama on Friday tweeted his support for South Carolina officials when they removed the Confederate flag from the statehouse.
The hysteria over the flag has caused the city council in Memphis, Tennessee, to unanimously vote to exhume the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Breitbart News reported that the general will be moved from his 110 year resting place to another location.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2