Decision on Douglas Freeman High School ‘Rebels’ nickname will take place in August

Decision on Douglas Freeman High School ‘Rebels’ nickname will take place in August
(Source: NBC12)

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A decision on Douglas Freeman High School’s “rebel” nickname will be made in August.

A release from Douglas Freeman’s principal, John Marshall, said the school will collect experiences and opinions from students, families, alumni and community members regarding the school’s mascot.

More than 1,300 stakeholders were collected. A committee of students, parents, alumni and staff members WILL go through the entries and then advise Marshall.

“While our traditions contribute to our strong school culture, this moment in our nation’s history demands that we ask if our symbols and language reflect our core values,” Marshall said. “In this spirit, hundreds of our students, alumni, families and community members have written over the past few weeks expressing their view that now is the time to change Freeman’s mascot.”

The process will be school-based, but the school’s administration will work closely with Henrico County Public Schools’ superintendent and school board.

“There have been petitions and student-led calls for a mascot change, and just as many petitions and calls for keeping it," Marshall said. “However, there has not been a public, school-led, formal examination of the topic until today.”

Feedback on the change can be submitted through an online form, and questions can be sent to

The Henrico County school has retained its “rebels” nickname, despite not using a visual mascot in recent years. Instead, the school has used a “DSF” logo.

The school opened in 1954 and is named for Douglas Southall Freeman, a Richmond historian, author and journalist. Freeman won Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Robert E. Lee and George Washington, and the school’s nickname was likely inspired by his Confederate subjects, according to a release from Henrico County Public Schools.

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