Fight song likely to be ad­dressed sep­a­rately

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Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - B Con­tact Ciara O’rourke at 512-392-8750.

the school district.

Since then, the district has out­lined plans to of­fer cul­tural com­pe­tency train­ing for all staff and peer train­ing for all Lehman and Hays high school stu­dents.

School Board Pres­i­dent Wil­lie Teno­rio Jr., who grad­u­ated from the high school in 1986, said his grad­u­a­tion an­nounce­ment bore the Con­fed­er­ate flag.

“It was on cam­pus so much that you kind of be­came used to its pres- ence,” Teno­rio said. “I don’t know if I un­der­stood how it was viewed in the gen­eral pub­lic.”

Teno­rio said that the com­mu­nity has strug­gled with whether to ban the flag, and that there are many on both sides of the de­bate.

Ear­lier this year he said tack­ling con­cerns about the Hays High mas­cot and “Dixie” fight song would have to wait.

He said he’s made his de­ci­sion on whether or not to ban the flag but is keep­ing it pri­vate un­til Mon­day’s meet­ing.

Lyon said it’s ur­gent that the board re­solve the is­sue by un­equiv­o­cally ban­ning the im­agery from district prop­erty.

Even­tu­ally, he spec­u­lated, the district will ad­dress the school’s fight song, but he said he thinks stu­dents need to lead the charge to change it.

He also said stu- dents and staff need more train­ing in di­ver­sity is­sues, re­call­ing former stu­dents who have talked about the anx­i­ety they ex­pe­ri­enced af­ter learn­ing later in life what Dixie and the flag rep­re­sent to some out­side of the school.

John Ayala, a Moun­tain City par­ent with a ju­nior at Hays High, said he was sur­prised to see Con­fed­er­ate flags and to hear the school’s fight song when he went to his first sport­ing event at the high school.

He said it’s em­bar­rass­ing to com­pete with di­verse schools against that back­drop.

“The peo­ple who pretty much founded this com­mu­nity, they tend to have a blind eye to how the Rebel flags and how ‘Dixie’ ... could be of­fen­sive to oth­ers,” he said.

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