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Board of Education Sued Over Mascot Rebrand

Jason Scott

A man is suing the Vestavia Hills, (Ala.) Board of Education over its decision to rebrand the “Rebel” mascot at Vestavia Hills high school.

The lawsuit, filed by resident Roger Harris and his attorney Jim Ransom, names the school superintendent and each individual member of the Board of Education as a defendant. According to the suit, the board had made the decision to rebrand the mascot before allowing the public to comment.

A July 8 meeting allowed members of the public to voice their opinions on whether or not to change the Rebel image. That meeting occurred a week and a half before the board held its vote on the subject.

The lawsuit, however, cites an agreement with a Tennessee flooring company as evidence that the public comment meetings were a “sham.” Praters Flooring won a contract with the school board to refinish the gym floor at Vestavia Hills high school during the summer.

The original arrangement said the floor design included the image of the Rebel mascot, but the design for the final agreement used the school’s initials instead.

“It’s just evidence that they began to abolish the mascot before they ever put it out for a public vote – or a vote by the board and public comment,” Ransom said.

Work on the floor began two days before the July 8 meeting.

Emails regarding the agreement between the board and the flooring company were requested by Harris, and are considered by law to be public record. The lawsuit alleges that the board withheld some emails, violating the law.

Ransom said that any money awarded to the plaintiff would go directly to the high school.

A spokesperson for the Board of Education wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit citing the ongoing litigation. 

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