It’s been a rough week at Richland High, in suburban Fort Worth.
Just seven days removed from the public exposure of an internal investigation and Southern Christian Leadership Conference independent investigation into alleged racist comments by longtime softball coach Brenda Jacobson, Richland again finds itself in the national crosshairs for its staunch support of the school’s traditional mascot: The Rebels.
Critics have been quick to point to the connection between the word Rebels and Confederate tradition, all of which stands in particularly poor taste given the recent events in South Carolina. Yet many local citizens in North Richland, where Richland High is located, have come to the defense of the mascot, instead insisting that the school’s mascot is part of its tradition and bears no direct connection to the Civil War.
It’s a reasonable argument, but not necessarily in good taste, particularly given the surrounding political climate. Add to that Jacobson’s alleged offensive and ignorant comments about African-American students, and a clear picture of Richland emerges as a troubled school with a community that seems torn about whether to acknowledge a legitimate issue with race or turn its back on reported issues.
The parents and students driving the pro-Rebel agenda — via Facebook, of course — are already considering speaking at a school board meeting. That would be a very American approach to protecting their interests; an American one, not a Confederate one.