The 2020-21 school year will be serve as a retirement tour for the Hays Rebels as the Hays Consolidated ISD Board of Trustees unanimously passed an action item to retire the Rebel mascot during a special meeting on Thursday at Buda Johnson High School.
All seven members of the board voted to retire the mascot and gave superintendent Dr. Eric Wright the authority to select Hays’ new mascot.
“Everyone in this community deserves a chance to be proud of their mascot,” HCISD Board Secretary and board member at-large Vanessa Petrea said during the meeting.
The school is expected to begin phasing out the mascot this academic year.
The new mascot selection process is expected to begin during the early part of the fall semester, a new graphic design and brand package is expected to begin late in the fall semester and a new mascot change over date is anticipated to begin as early as the start of the spring semester.
The Rebel mascot was controversial for years and district administration recommended the removal of the mascot last month.
HCISD Board Vice President Will McManus, a Hays graduate,said that that the change was overdue and it wasn’t the mascot that makes the school special, it is the people.
“We want to be and we must be a district that is 100 percent Hays,” McManus said. “We don’t want 25 percent of our students to be intimidated by anything as simple as a mascot.”
The school was named after John Coffee “Jack” Hays, a Texas Ranger captain and Mexican War officer. The other high school mascots in the Hays CISD are the Lobos (Kyle Lehman) and Jaguars (Buda Johnson).
The school’s namesake was neutral during the Civil War, but Hays High has a history of using Confederate imagery and tradition.
The school used the Confederate flag as a school symbol until 2000 and the flag was permitted on campus until 2012. “Dixie,” the de facto Confederate national anthem, was used as the school’s fight song until 2015.
A total of 902 responses were collected for the mascot survey.The results of the survey show 13 new selections with Patriots, Cowboys and Hawks being the most popular with 143, 127 and 123 votes, respectively.
The other mascots on the survey were Hawks, Wildcats, Dragons, Hurricanes, Honey Badgers, Mavericks, Hornets, Phoenixes, Hyenas, Lions and Eagles. The survey does note that while the selections may be considered in choosing a new mascot, the response rate is not sufficient to be considered a reliable representation of the student choice.