Heated school board meeting over Effingham Co. High mascot

Heated school board meeting over Effingham High mascot.
Published: Aug. 19, 2015 at 3:06 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2015 at 7:37 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Effingham County High School's mascot was the focus of a heated school board meeting held in Springfield Tuesday night.

A small group of people, led by the NAACP, want the mascot changed from the "Rebels", usually pictured as a Confederate soldier holding a Confederate Flag.

"We have come to make a petition to right the wrong that should have been corrected 60 years ago," said Leroy Lloyd, president of the Effingham NAACP.

The petition - made by the local NAACP - is for the school board to remove the use of all confederate symbols used by the school. This includes the Rebel mascot, the use of the Confederate flag, and the school's "Dixie" fight song.

Some say the history and hate associated with these symbols cannot be severed.

Pastor Franklin Blanks, Jr., First Union Baptist Church, said, "We should do better. We cannot ignore this practice any longer. We ask you to do the respect of representing all citizens. Do what is fair and honest concerning this practice."

But the overwhelming majority of people who attended Tuesday's meeting disagreed.

Stanley Carter, resident, said, "You try to erase my heritage, you try to erase anything you think is racist. But the whole time you were up here, sir. I apologize, but everything you said was racist."

Cheers and boos rose from the crowd of hundreds throughout the meeting, some people were nearly escorted out by law enforcement for speaking out of turn.

And though many on both sides were calling for unity, it was clearly a room divided.

Mary Woods, ECHS alumna, said, "I didn't go to Effingham County School because of that Rebel Flag. That Rebel Flag didn't mean nothing to me, it was simply a mascot for the school. That flag to me -- gave me the inspiration to fight, to do more in life, it's a fighting thing."

The school board did not vote or make a decision on whether to change the school's mascot Tuesday.

They said they will now consider the input and make a decision at a later time.

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