Racially Charged Word Appears In School's Handbook - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/26/07-Tyler

Racially Charged Word Appears In School's Handbook

It's a controversial subject that creeps up on many southern school campuses--statues, flags, icons that represent the Confederacy. And now the controversy has hit an East Texas High School but the school says, by mistake. Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler recently printed the word "Rebel" instead of "Red Raider" in the motto of this year's school handbook. Folks tell me they are offended the word "Rebel" would appear in a document from the school. Lee changed their Rebel mascot to the Red Raiders more than 30 years ago because of it's racial connotations.

The phrase "Rebel Spirit Never Dies" appears right under the school's motto one of the first pages of the handbook. But the motto really is "Red Raider Spirit Never Dies." A handful of people who contacted KLTV say the don't understand how, after 30 years, this word would appear.   

"There's templates that are in the computer and I think they pulled an old template when they dropped it, that's how we believe it happened. Neither person remembers typing that, the assistant principal or the paraprofessional that was working with him, that's how we believe it occurred and that's the best we could find out, we're sure there was no malice intended," says Dr. Randy Reid, Tyler ISD's Superintendent.

TISD says they understand the word is offensive and apologize for that. The superintendent says it was simply a typo but as for how that typo happened, their investigation did not uncover any real understanding of how the word got there in the first place, especially considering the word has not appeared in any past issues of the school's handbook. 

TISD says they have since corrected an online version of school handbook, but do not plan to reprint the issue because of financial reasons.

Tracy Watler,Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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