VIVIAN, La. -- Will Rebels be erased from North Caddo High School? There's a renewed movement to change the mascot amid racial controversy across the country.
Janice Johnson also wrote to the board that for 50 years, her family, friends and neighbors have been asking to remove the Confederate rebel mascot.
But, she says, "The rebel name lingers with its wicked intent of destruction, discrimination, hatred and divide."
The valedictorian from the class of 2000 is also lending her voice. LaDelia Jordan notes that "the rebel man" has been removed from the school and city water tower, and the rebel flag is no longer flown at the school.
She goes on to write, "So, we recognize that there is a problem with these confederate symbols. Let's finish this and finally get a mascot that the school can be proud of and actually display."
The Caddo Parish School Board gave a written statement in reaction to the petition, saying it's being reviewed.
Assistant Director of Communications Charnae McDonald added, "In previous conversations, community members and alumni sought to maintain the rebel name and change its meaning. And the board respected that request. The district looks forward to a thoughtful discussion of how to best represent North Caddo and the community it serves.
We found mixed reaction from people in Vivian.
"The Rebel just represents our history. It's part of our heritage. It's not a racist symbol. It's heritage only. It's not about race. So keep it," said Timothy Hoss.
"We don't need to be changing things just for people's feelings. By removing history and heritage we're just going to ruin our history and our culture as a whole," said Nicholas Tock.
His friend Nicky Adamczyk, added, "We rebelled from the British empire. And I think being a rebel is part of the American spirit. And not in the sense of being a Confederate. But being an American standing up against tyranny."
Garielle Martin disagrees, saying, "I understand people's ties to the rebel. But at the same time, we have people that don't like it. Why keep a mascot that's divided everybody? It doesn't represent everyone."
By 7 p.m. Monday, the online petition had gathered almost 2,400 signatures.