LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Fayette County school leaders announced Tuesday night that the mascot of the new Frederick Douglass High School will no longer be the Stallions.
The mascot and colors for the new school, which is under construction off Winchester Road, were unveiled Monday.
However, Fayette County school leaders say after the unveiling, they received concern from the community about the mascot. A petition had also been started online to change the mascot, claiming it was inappropriate and sexist.
"Since the public announcement of the mascot Monday, we have received feedback from some community members who have concerns about the mascot and we want assure our constituents that there was absolutely no intent to offend or upset anyone," Fayette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk said in a statement. "We also recognize that there is support from others in our community to honor the former stallions of Hamburg Place farm."
School leaders say the school will still have the Keeneland green and orange colors, and will have a horse image in its logo. However, they say incoming students of Frederick Douglass High School will be allowed to choose their mascot.
"I'm very grateful to Superintendent Caulk for listening to our concerns [and] for reassessing this choice by getting input from students [and] parents," Diane Cahill, who created the petition against the name, said in a statement to WKYT Tuesday night. "Hopefully a more appropriate, inclusive, gender neutral name can be found."
Here is the complete statement from Fayette County Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk:
"There is a tremendous amount of optimism and positive energy surrounding opening of Frederick Douglass High School and we certainly don't want the selection of a mascot to become a divisive issue for our community.
The new high school is being built on a 65 acre portion of the former Hamburg Place farm, where the Madden family bred 14 champion racehorses, including four Kentucky Derby winners and the first Triple Crown winner – Sir Barton.
When construction began on Frederick Douglass High School, we discovered that one of the Madden's famed stallions had been buried on the property where the new school was being built. The Stallions mascot was originally chosen to honor the rich of tradition of our land here in central Kentucky.
Since the public announcement of the mascot Monday, we have received feedback from some community members who have concerns about the mascot and we want assure our constituents that there was absolutely no intent to offend or upset anyone. We also recognize that there is support from others in our community to honor the former stallions of Hamburg Place farm.
Moving forward, we will keep the Keeneland green and orange colors and horse image in the school logo to pay homage to Lexington's rich history in the horse industry, but we will allow the incoming students of Frederick Douglass High School to choose their mascot. We've already received suggestions of Thoroughbreds or Racers as possible alternatives to Stallions and we will solicit additional ideas from our students before they choose a horse themed mascot grounded in the land's equestrian heritage.
We want our new high school to be a source of unity and pride for our entire community and we thank all of those who have taken the time to reach out and engage in the conversation about this issue. Public engagement and advocacy are central to the success of our Fayette County Public Schools, and we are committed to listening to the people we serve as we seek to provide the very best education for each and every student."