WYOMING, Mich. — Around 40 students walked out of Wyoming Godfrey-Lee High School to protest the decision to change the name of the school’s mascot.
In February, the Godfrey-Lee Board of Education voted to phase out the use of the Rebels mascot because the name “and the associated symbolism and historic relationship did not reflect the diversity” of the district.
The district has involved its students in the name-change process, but some of them say they feel like their voices aren’t being heard.
“We decided to walk out today because our school shouldn’t change the Rebel name, and they’ve been giving us opportunities to voice our opinion, but every single time we try to voice our opinion they never listen,” said sophomore Adriana Landis. “So, we’ve come to this as our, not solution, but hopefully they hear our voice.”
The school recently released a list of the top 10 names being considered by an “Identity Committee” and school board members, which didn’t include Rebels.
Landis says a lot of students don’t want the name changed and the opinion of students isn’t being heard by school officials.
“It seems like, to us, that the board already has their decision, that they’re not really listening to us, they already have their decision and they’re just doing this to make themselves look good,” Landis said.
A district release says the process to change the school’s mascot was thorough and involved all members of the community.
The students who took part in the walkout will receive an unexcused absence, per rules outlined in the student handbook.
“While we preserve our students’ First Amendment Rights, we must preserve the sanctity of the learning environment to be free from disruption,” a district release says.