The stars-and-bars of the Confederate flag painted onto a Juanita senior's face in 1999. Two years earlier, Juanita students shouted racial slurs at the mostly black Garfield High School football team. They sent an apology banner. 
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The stars-and-bars of the Confederate flag painted onto a Juanita senior's face in 1999. Two years earlier, Juanita students shouted racial slurs at the mostly black Garfield High School football team. They sent an apology banner.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Casey Martin

Their mascot was called racist. These Seattle-area students voted to keep it

The Rebel remains.

Students at Juanita High School, in Kirkland, have voted overwhelmingly to keep their controversial mascot.

The final tally was 680 in favor of keeping the Rebel, 374 opposed.

Students had petitioned to remove the Rebel earlier this spring, calling it a racist symbol. Others countered that the mascot is a patriotic nod to the American Revolution — not white supremacy.

Read More: Immigrant moms in SeaTac prison 'could hear their children screaming' But the Rebel is better known as a symbol of the Confederacy, a time when the Southern states fought for the preservation of slavery."It kind of broke my heart, honestly,' said Aiyah Smart, a 15-year-old freshman at Juanita High School who is black. 'It's like a pain that you can't take away."Juanita’s students have embraced their mascot’s connection to the Civil War in the past. In the 1986 yearbook, a photo of a Juanita crowd waving the Confederate flag was used for the table of contents.And in 1997, Juanita students yelled racial slurs at the predominantly black Garfield High School football team. This was the first year of a new athletic league that combined city and suburban teams.At the game, several Juanita High School students showed up with the Confederate flag painted on their faces. The N-word was keyed onto a Garfield coach’s car.

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