Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 27, 2016

Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 2:59 PM

click to enlarge LOST CAUSE: Southside is now known as the Mavericks. And seems likely to stay that way. The photo from the past is on Joey McCutchen's Facebook page.
  • LOST CAUSE: Southside is now known as the Mavericks. And seems likely to stay that way. The photo from the past is on Joey McCutchen's Facebook page.
KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappings for Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.

Key happening: School Board member Wade Gilkey, elected last September as a pro-Rebel , said this week that he was tired of the furor stirred by McCutchen and said he'd vote in the future not to retreat from the mascot change. This meant, even had McCutcheon's forces picked up a couple more school board seats in September, they'd be on the losing side of a Board split on the issue.

Pressure has been rising from establishment Fort Smith to put the matter to bed. A critical development was the resignation this week of long-time Athletic Director Jim Rowland, a popular figure whose departure prompted tearful tributes from admirers and not a few denunciations of McCutchen. He wrote on his Facebook page:

“I have made one of the hardest decisions in my life, which is to suspend my fight for the Rebel tradition at Southside,” the post states. “Since it is an impossibility to win our Rebel name back without Wade’s vote, I have decided it is better for my family, my friends, and my community to continue the passionate fight for open and honest government, academic and financial accountability, and other God-given rights instead of pursuing the fight for the Southside Rebel name.”

McCutchen also writes: “I believe Wade’s motivation is pure and he truly wants to continue his battle to improve graduation rates and school report cards, and improve transparency and accountability in the Fort Smith School District.”
McCutchen said he did intend to continue his appeal of a lawsuit, so far unsuccessful, to contend that the School Board meeting at which the mascot change occurred violated the Freedom of Information Act.

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