FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Attorney Joey McCutchen has been vocal about his disapproval of the school board's decision to ban the Southside High School fight song and mascot.
Now, he wants to take the case before a jury.
McCutchen said when the school board voted away the fight song and mascot, they did not do away with the name “Rebels.”
“The school board has had several opportunities to vote to change the name 'Rebels', and they've chosen not to do it,” McCutchen said.
McCutchen said the “Rebel” name is separate from Southside's mascot “Johnny Reb.” He said none of the votes the school board has taken have banned “Rebels” from Southside.
“Now, there was a vote made to keep the 'Rebel' name, but that's of no consequence. You have to vote to discontinue that name,” McCutchen said.
He said the name itself has to be voted to be banned before Southside starts replacing everything that says “Rebels.” He said that would be an illegal use of taxpayers money.
“I can see that if they go out, and they start ripping up turf without having the vote to discontinue the name ‘Rebels,’ some taxpayer out there, rightfully so, is going to demand a vote,” McCutchen said.
McCutchen is filing appeals on two separate challenges he filed against the school board vote that were dismissed in court, but Thursday (October 8), McCutchen filed an amended complaint demanding a jury trial.
“All we're asking a jury to do is simply to declare that there has not been a public meeting in which there was a vote by the Fort Smith School Board that would require Southside to remove the name 'Rebels’ from the school.”
McCutchen said the mascot committee should not be voting on new names, just a replacement for the image of “Johnny Reb,” but the Southside student body voted Wednesday (Oct. 7) between five new mascots.
The top two choices will be brought back to the committee for a final decision.
Southside principal Wayne Haver said it is likely that a new mascot will be chosen at the next committee meeting on Monday (October 12).