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Texas High School Swaps Confederate Mascot for ‘Service Dog’

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The push to remove all Confederate iconography continues at one Texas high school where eligible students voted to replace its Old South logo with a politically correct “service dog” mascot.

Students at the soon-to-be formerly named Robert E. Lee High in the North East Independent School District recently selected the rendering of a service dog, ending the era where their campus logo featured 13 stars and “Grumpy Gus,” a cartoon Confederate soldier bearing the signature red and gray campus colors.

On Monday night, North East ISD officials unveiled the chosen image of the new canine mascot outfitted in a service dog vest. The school’s motto, the “Volunteers,” is displayed on the side of the vest. On the chest, the vest reads “LEE,” an acronym for the school’s future name, “Legacy of Educational Excellence” High.

The service dog mascot and other changes will go into effect at the start of the 2018-19 school year when the high school officially becomes “LEE.” The school will maintain the red and gray colors.

The San Antonio Express News reported that Lee High freshman, sophomores, and juniors along with eighth graders enrolled in the Nimitz and Jackson middle schools which are zoned for their graduates to attend the high school next year, selected the service dog logo from three proposed mascot designs, according to a letter sent to Lee High families by Principal Nicole Franco. Students cast their votes during lunch periods last week.

Last year, Breitbart Texas reported that the North East ISD board of trustees voted to re-imagine their campus named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee with a more welcoming 21st Century moniker. This decision came amid a nationwide push to strip all Confederate history from memory after violence erupted at a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest. School district officials wrestled with re-branding Lee High to a politically correct moniker that would not break the bank.

Superintendent Brian Gottardy originally told trustees a full re-brand would cost more than $1.3 million, a far too hefty taxpayer price tag. Thus, Gottardy later presented a scaled down plan to the school board. It packaged proposed expenditures for athletics, school facilities, fine arts, and Junior ROTC into a more manageable $300,000.

Subsequently, the school board voted to rename the high school. Trustees accepted more than 2,000 submissions for new names, ultimately transforming Lee High to the cost-cutting “LEE.”

The school board also voted to keep its long-standing motto, the “Volunteers,” now paired with the service dog imagery. However, they dumped the school spirit team names — the Rebel Rousers and the Dixie Drillers. LEE High will write a new school spirit song.

In his presentation last year, Gottardy said that the campus would retain the many honors, trophies, and awards accumulated during its 60 years of operation as Robert E. Lee High. The superintendent also announced plans to honor the high school’s history under the Confederate general’s nomenclature by opening on-campus museum at a cost of $15,000. He said it would be open to the public.

In 2015, a similar re-branding campaign erupted calling for the removal of all images and historical figures associated with the Confederacy after the tragic Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting of nine black parishioners. At that time, though, the same North East ISD school board bucked the trend and voted to keep the high school’s name as Robert E. Lee.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.

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