Douglas Freeman students hold protest for Black Lives Matter movement outside school

Henrico County

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Just a day after Douglas Freeman High School’s principal John Marshall announced the school is looking for feedback to potentially change their ‘Rebels’ mascot, a group of students held a Black Lives Matter protest in front of the school building.

The students in attendance say a mascot change is a solid start, but they wanted to make sure an open discussion was created among the Freeman community about how to support their black students while also bringing down inequalities inside the school they say still exist today.

“Growing up all I heard about was like Robert E. Lee like wasn’t that bad even though he was such a racist leader,” said rising Freeman senior Essence Touch. “But we really never learned about like leaders of color. Like it’s sort of like brushed off the shoulder.”

Principal Marshall was in attendance Friday, listening to what students had to say. He told 8News that he admires the leadership they are showing for social change.

“We want to know what your experience with the mascot was, or is, and make sure that our school is as inclusive and as a welcoming place as we can be for all of our students,” he said. “And that starts with knowing how they experience our school and our mascot.”

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