Students at Dixie M. Hollins started a petition to change the school’s name and replace the Rebels nickname.
The proposal wants to drop Dixie from the school’s name so it can be called Hollins High. A new nickname would go along with it.
So far, the petition has more than 420 signatures.
The school, which opened in 1959, is named after Dixie Martin Hollins, the first superintendent of Pinellas County schools. He championed the rights of black students and his estate still contributes to the music program.
In the 1970s, the school was embroiled in civil unrest because of integration and a school ban on the use of the confederate flag. For years, locals referred to the school as Dixie and the athletic teams as the Dixie Rebels.
Should it be changed?
Just the mere suggestion drew strong reactions from those who voted in a recent poll by Prime Time Preps. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the school’s name — and nickname.
The poll drew plenty of responses with 956 votes. An overwhelming majority (89.75 percent/858 votes) said no on whether to change the school name or Rebels nickname. There were 98 votes (10.25 percent) in favor of making a change.
Will community reaction weigh in any decision?
No one knows. The students who put together the petition are supposed to meet with the school’s principal, Robert Florio, in the next few weeks to at least discuss the matter.