Fairfax High School principal Erin Lenart has decided to permanently remove the use of “Rebel” from the school’s team name, effective immediately. Going forward, Fairfax High will use the team name Lions and Lion Pride, which will be used in lieu of Rebels and Rebel Pride. In a letter to parents, Leinart said, “At Fairfax, we pride ourselves on inclusivity, family, respect, and integrity, and given the history of Rebel, it is time for a change.”
Lenart began examining and investigating the origin of Rebels and Rebel Pride and talking to students, staff members, and members of the community to learn more after she was named principal two years ago. The original mascot—Johnny Reb—depicted a Confederate soldier and was removed in 1985, but Rebel Rouser and Rebel Pride continued to be used. Last year, in accordance with Fairfax County School Board regulations and working with FCPS leadership and the City of Fairfax School Board, Lenart started the process of permanently changing the team name.
Reaching out to numerous stakeholders, Lenart gained the support of the Fairfax Education Association; Fairfax High coaches, staff members, students, and parents; members of the community; and the City of Fairfax School Board.
During the 2019-20 school year, Lenart informed the staff, PTA, booster clubs, and students of the change and began implementing the change to Lions, Lions Den, and Lion Pride at the school. Band uniforms, a new gym floor, and spirit wear were purchased using just the Fairfax High School name. Where it is fiscally responsible, sponsors of clubs, activities, and athletic teams are being asked to rebrand anything that has Rebel or Confederate ties to the name.
At today’s Fairfax County School Board Forum prior to the Board’s regular business meeting, the Board indicated support for moving forward with a proposal to rename Mosby Woods Elementary School and will schedule it as New Business at an upcoming School Board meeting once the process to rename Robert E. Lee High School is completed. The school carries the name of John S. Mosby, a Confederate army colonel. The process to rename a school facility is outlined in Regulation 8170 Procedures for Naming School Facilities and Dedicating Areas of School Facilities or Grounds and includes the community engagement process.