High school fight song stirs up controversy in South Texas

Refugio ISD school board voted to keep song

CONVERSE, Texas – A fight song has stirred up controversy in Refugio County in South Texas near the Gulf Coast.

Refugio High School has played the song called “Dixie” for decades, typically after the football team scores touchdowns at their games. But recently, some have complained that the song's origin is racially charged and inappropriate.

Unlike football games in the past, it was confirmed that during Friday night’s playoff game with Shiner High School in Converse that the “Dixie” fight song was not played because of the recent backlash.

Some attending the game said the song hasn't been played in four weeks, even though the Refugio ISD school board voted 5-to-2 in favor of keeping the fight song.

There has been a mixed reaction from community members, with some seeing the song as historical and traditional as opposed to racially charged.

"Personally, I just think we should just do away with it. I mean, why not? It offends people, so do away with it,” said James Turner, a Refugio resident.

"If that is your argument that it is tradition, then you are not looking at the whole picture. You are not looking at the students that are playing on the field. You are not looking at the students that are walking the hallways. You are not looking at the people who are sitting in the stands or the people who are voting in Refugio County,” said Teresa Toliver, a graduate of Refugio High.

Before the game, the school board released a statement addressing the push to have the fight song changed. The statement said the district recognizes that the song holds a different meaning for some within their diverse student body and community.

“To most students and alumni, the tune has been a source of school pride and unity,” the statement said.

The district said it will consult with stakeholders, including current students, regarding the use of the song.

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