After The Daily Caller and other news outlets reported that an online petition had caused the Lexington, Kentucky school district to drop Frederick Douglass High School’s stallion mascot, local students Drew Rodriguez and Bilal Chhadh decided to protest that decision and post their own petition.
The students are currently freshmen at Henry Clay High School but plan to attend Frederick Douglass High next year after construction of the new facility is completed.
The first petition, initiated by Diane Cahill, denounced the stallion as insufficiently “gender-neutral” and wondered, “What message does this send to our daughters and granddaughters? Our sons and grandsons?”
It attracted a meager 214 supporters. The counter-petition has garnered 10 times that with 2,115 names as of Monday afternoon.
The petition reads: “We as Lexingtonians should take pride in our history and strive to commemorate it, not argue over trivial matters such as the gender of a mascot. We feel our society has become too sensitive to such matters as simple as a school mascot. The point of the Stallions was not to denounce women, but to honor the rich history of the land the school is being built upon. In addition, the Keeneland green color was incorporated into the school to promote Lexington’s profound equestrian history.”
The students even suggest a compromise lest anyone still feel somehow slighted by the stallion imagery: “The male teams could be referred to as Stallions and the female teams as the Lady Stallions.”
Rodriguez told The Daily Caller on Monday that he found Cahill’s position to be “extreme,” and had just met with the school principal and had a “productive conversation.”
“He went out of his way to meet with us personally and we are very encouraged by this. He applauded our efforts for speaking and standing up for what we believed was right. He reassured us that the mascot will be decided by incoming students to FDHS and that Stallions will be an option or seriously considered as one. In addition, the overwhelming support by the community has been outstanding,” said Rodriguez.
The petition asks that “Superintendent [Manny] Caulk and the Fayette Co. Board of Education consider our requests and hope that a reasonable solution that both communities agree on is found.
Caulk, in his response to the first petition, said that “We want our new high school to be a source of unity and pride for our entire community and we thank all of those who have taken the time to reach out and engage in the conversation about this issue,” Fayette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk said in a statement.