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HALTOM CITY (CBS11) – The controversy surrounding Birdville ISD’s Richland High School mascot the “Rebels” has now caught the attention of the Texas Education Agency. The TEA responded to a complaint by local activist Reverend Kyev Tatum of allegation involving discrimination and hostility.

The TEA says they will now investigate those claims.

Tatum’s claims are rooted in a culture he says is unfair to minority students. A culture he blames on the schools mascot name and their history.

Tatum said, “The more we delve in to this the more we are hearing very clearly that there is a direct correlation between the spirit of the confederacy and the spirit at Richland High School.”

However, not everyone agrees. Kent Lambertson who graduated from Richland High in 1969 says to him the mascot has no meaning of discrimination.

Lambertson said, “It’s about standing up to your foe whether it be in football …basketball or any other sport. Standing up to a challenge.”

Birdville ISD Superintendent Dr. Darrel G. Brown released the following statement:

“Mr. Tatum did not sign up to speak to the Board tonight. Neither the Superintendent nor Board has yet to speak with Mr. Tatum. Richland High students define “rebel” as choosing their own path and defining their own future. Rebel means standing up for what we believe. Richland High’s mascot is a cowboy, and confederate symbols are not part of the school spirit. We feel Richland High is a model of how diversity can work and are proud of the open and welcoming culture at RHS. BISD will take all concerns seriously. We will investigate them thoroughly and handle them appropriately.”

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