Parents Upset About Southside Memorabilia Auction Speak At School Board Meeting

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Thousands of items of Rebel memorabilia were auctioned off at Southside High School earlier this month (March 11). Part of that auction didn't sit very well with some parents. Tonight, they took their concerns to the school board.

"This is the original bag and, of course, it's beat up and it's torn up, but this was the bag she carried everything in every single day," said Daphne Dahlem, a frustrated parent.

Dahlem was talking about her daughter, a member of the Dixie Belles at Southside High School.

Before the auction, the school required the Dixie Belles to return those bags once the mascot was changed.

Then the parents said the bags were, to their surprise, included in the auction.

"And so, when we went to the auction to get our personal property back, we were told we couldn't because it was now surplus property of the Fort Smith School District," said Dahlem. "The bags were given back to the school district and the girls were told they were going to be given new bags for free."

But according to Dahlem, the parents ended up paying for those bags twice, and then a third time to get them back from the auction company.

"I know people might say it's just a bag, why cause a fuss over it? Well, for my daughter, she had worked hard for this. She danced long hours."

That's why Monday (March 27), Dahlem took to the podium at the Fort Smith School Board meeting.

"We just want to let them know there needs to be a protocol in the way things are done -- especially with big decisions."

Dahlem spoke calmly -- also asking for an intense audit of the individual fee accounts.

The board told her that they had already started to look into some of the procedures and processes related to the spirit groups in the district.

The board also said it would take some time to figure out what they called a complicated situation -- saying that not everything is in writing.

School board president Deanie Mehl said Dahlem's questions should be answered by the end of this year.

Dahlem said it's not about fighting the school or the school board.

"It was just about getting our children's property back," she said.

Dahlem said the children have been incredibly mature throughout this process and have maintained their love for their school despite the controversy that's taken place.

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