The search is on for a new team name for a high school in B.C.’s Southern Interior.
This week, School District 58 announced that Princeton Secondary School has dropped its longstanding Rebels name, stating it was outdated and “had nothing to do with Canada, for one thing, or our school.”
The reasoning, said the school district, was that the team name was directly linked to the American Civil War.
In an interview with Global News on Saturday, board of education chair Gordon Comeau said new staff “were researching everything out and they came across the fact that the name the Rebels had, at one point in time, been associated with the Confederate flag and the Confederate uniform, and ties, really, to the Confederate cause during the American civil war.
“And the board felt that these images, although they were used recently and had been for years, they just have no relationship to Canada, for one thing, or our school.
“And nowadays, it’s just not an appropriate thing. We see it all over the news, and we have a policy that’s pretty clear — it’s to raise awareness and improve the understanding of the human race and lives of all people.”
Gordon said parents and students were informed of the board’s unanimous decision to drop the name.
The announcement follows recent news that the NFL’s Washington Redskins are looking at changing their name, along with Simon Fraser University committing to dropping its “Clan” team name.
Comeau said the name had been looked at a number of times over the years, but never at the board level, until the past month, adding “with SFU being a good example.”
Comeau told Global News that the school district is committed to addressing issues when it finds them, “and we found this one.”
He continued, saying “they did find pictures that indicated that some of the uniforms, they did wear a confederate flag as a symbol on their uniform.”
Comeau said some school symbols had a cartoonish-style Civil War character carrying a gun, with another being a Confederate hat in front of two swords.
“It’s just not appropriate in this day and age to have that,” said Comeau.
He said the name change will take place in the fall, and will be done through the school, students and stakeholders.
“We’re a very strong mining and lumber community, and there’s lots of wildlife around us,” said Comeau.
“I’m sure they’ll come up with something that will be very appropriate for their school.”