A second petition over the Stallions mascot for Fayette County’s new Frederick Douglass High School popped up on change.org Thursday — this one from two future Douglass students asking school district officials to keep the Stallions name.
In an email to a Herald-Leader reporter, Drew Rodriguez and Bilal Chhadh identified themselves as ninth graders from Henry Clay High School and said they created the petition. They said they plan to attend Douglass when it opens in the fall.
After a public outcry over the mascot that was announced Monday, Superintendent Manny Caulk changed course Tuesday and said students would choose a horse-themed mascot.
Caulk’s decision came after a Lexington woman created a petition on the change.org website against naming the school’s athletic teams and mascot “Stallions.” The petition said, in part, that the nickname “is inappropriate and sexist.”
The petition to keep the Stallions name, created Thursday, had 1,247 supporters just after 11:45 a.m. Friday. At that same hour, the petition denouncing the Stallion mascot had 214 supporters.
Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said Thursday afternoon that she was not aware of the second petition.
“We have received over 60 supporters in six hours and 25 comments, a good number of which are from women who approve of the mascot,” the boys said in their email to the Herald-Leader.
“The point of the Stallions was not to denounce women, but to honor the rich history of the land the school is being built upon. In addition, the Keeneland green color was incorporated into the school to promote Lexington's profound equestrian history,” their petition said.
“With that being said, there is a solution that could satisfy both parties. We are not looking into pleasing only our interests, but to find a compromise that recognizes the buried Stallion on which the school is being built and the communities concern regarding the mascots gender,” the petition said. “The male teams could be referred to as Stallions and the female teams as the Lady Stallions. We ask that Superintendent Caulk and the Fayette Co. Board of Education consider our requests and hope that a reasonable solution that both communities agree on is found.”
The petition mentioned that Tates Creek High School uses Commodores for its male teams and Lady Commodores for female teams.
In explaining why the Stallions name was used in the first place, Caulk said that when construction on the new school began, district officials discovered that a famed stallion had been buried on the property that formerly was part of Hamburg Place, a Thoroughbred farm off Winchester Road.
“The Stallions mascot was originally chosen to honor the rich of tradition of our land here in Central Kentucky,” Caulk said. “We certainly don’t want the selection of a mascot to become a divisive issue for our community” that would detract from “a tremendous amount of optimism and positive energy” around the new school’s opening.