ROBSTOWN (KIII NEWS) - For decades the Hamlin Middle School mascot has been a rebel wearing a confederate uniform, but the school decided to change it due to what some feel is an offensive past.
The only other school in South Texas with what could be considered a controversial mascot is the Robstown Cotton Pickers, with some asking if they will now change their name, too.
Robstown residents said it really comes down to what is accepted and appropriate for their small community, and while some say the name may seem offensive to those who don't live in South Texas, they feel it represents family pride.
The Hamlin Rebels, on the other hand, is now a name of the past. The middle school changed their mascot due to what could be seen as offensive confederate past.
"I've lived in different cities and when I tell them my high school mascot they kind of take a, it's a big surprise," Robstown High School Alumnus Herman Rodriguez said. "They get surprised by what it is."
Rodriguez said while he has met many outside of South Texas who find the name offensive, that is not the case for locals who are proud of their past.
"We're Latinos. We're migrant workers, and we picked cotton," Rodriguez said. "My parents picked cotton."
Lalo Morales said he did not even know it was a phrase people could view negatively.
"Born and raised picking cotton since I was six. That's why they call us the cotton pickers," Morales said.
The Robstown Independent School District released the following statement:
"Robstown ISD administration has not received commentary from parents due to neighboring school districts' mascot controversy. To be a Robstown Cotton Picker exhibits a sense of pride. At this time Robstown ISD will stay focused on student needs as their priority."
Rodriguez said he actually agrees with changing the Rebel mascot at Hamlin, but said that would only need to be done in Robstown if demographics shift.
"We've evolved and we need to change some of that history, and this could be offensive if it's not understood, and if it's not understood how many Latinos are in this town," Rodriguez said.
For now, locals are proud to explain to others why the name represents so much positive history.
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