KYLE, Texas - The Hays CISD Board of Trustees is set to consider voting to retire the Hays High School Rebel mascot on Thursday.
Hays CISD administration is recommending the change after receiving student, teacher, and community feedback.
Hays CISD says that nearly 60 percent of students and more than 70 percent of teachers and staff reported little to no comfort with the current mascot and more than a quarter of students and nearly a third of teachers and staff said they were very uncomfortable.
If the Board votes to retire the rebel mascot, a replacement would likely be determined at a later date, says the district. However, given that the district is currently concentrating on managing their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and there being an "extremely short timeline available to make a full mascot change in advance of the upcoming school year", the administration says it is recommending that the selection of a new mascot be delayed.
The district did attempt to conduct a top-choice selection process for a new mascot in early July. However, the district says the campaign was interrupted by unexpected circumstances that affected the process.
The administration says it does not believe it obtained enough student response to be confident that the responses fully represent what students would like to see as a new mascot. Additionally, some students may have been reluctant to select a new mascot in hopes that the Board will not change it.
The district says a process to select a new mascot, if necessary, would be more inclusive following a final decision by the Board and would involve a separate process once school resumes in the fall.
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If the Board votes to retire the rebel mascot, the district says Hays High School would open the new school year as “the rebels.” Students who do not wish to wear uniforms with “rebels” on them would not be required to do so and references to “rebels” on their uniforms can be covered.
The new mascot selection process, and subsequent graphics and branding design phase, would take place during the fall semester. Though the campus could begin phasing out ‘rebel’ depictions immediately, the district says an official mascot change-over date would likely not occur until spring or at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.