Fairfax County school officials announced yesterday that a new Fairfax High School logo has been chosen to replace Johnny Reb, and voiced praise for a federal judge's order allowing the school system to collect $1,800 in legal fees in the case involving the controversial mascot.
U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. ruled Friday in Alexandria that the six students and three parents who filed a losing $1.1 million lawsuit seeking restoration of the Johnny Reb mascot must reimburse Fairfax County $1,801.25 for its legal costs within 30 days.
The suit was filed to protest Fairfax High Principal Harry Holsinger's decision to drop Johnny Reb, to change the name of the "Confederettes" drill team and to drop the school flag, a blue and gray version of the Confederate battle flag. He acted after black parents complained that the symbols were racist.
Replacing Johnny Reb will be a blue and gray logo consisting of the name "Fairfax Rebels" and a pair of crossed swords superimposed on an American flag with a circle of 13 stars, Holsinger said yesterday.
The logo was one of three nominated by a student-parent-teacher committee, and was the popular choice in a student vote this month, Holsinger said. It will take effect at the beginning of the school year.
Bryan dismissed the suit May 30, calling it frivolous. The plaintiffs have appealed his decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"Hopefully this is going to set a new trend so that those kinds of frivolous things won't happen," Superintendent Robert R. Spillane said. "This is the first time we've done it, and I believe I have the authority from the School Board . . . to keep pursuing these in the future."
Louis C. Frank, one of the parents who filed the suit, said of the ruling, "It's ridiculous -- as much so as what his initial findings were."