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Unused Walpole High sign finally being addressed

June 21, 2012

Although the Walpole High School renovation and addition project that occurred during the early part of this century has long been complete on paper at least, there is one remaining task from that project that has been left undone: putting up a $2000 “Walpole High School” sign (see picture), paid for by taxpayers through the debt exclusion override that funded the project.

The sign sat on the high school loading dock for many years and was dragged out to the front of the school only once, by seniors in a senior prank many years ago. The sign was only recently removed from the loading dock and has now been put in the Department of Public Works yard on Washington Street, according to school principal Stephen Imbusch.

According to Imbusch, the sign won’t be put up anytime soon. He called the sign “out of date” and said he’d like to look into trading it in for a newer sign.

“If we are going to announce events on a sign that needs to be wired anyway, I would prefer that it not be one that we have to put letters on one-by-one,” Imbusch said. “Something that can be programmed from inside would be a better solution.”

Imbusch said the only existing sign in the front of the school, which has the image of “Colonel Rebel,” a subtle connection to the Confederacy at a time when the school is seeking to distance itself from the racist and Confederate connotations of the Rebel mascot, is not appropriate but likely won’t be replaced or removed.

“That little guy is the last piece that flies in the face of what Walpole Rebels really are,” Imbusch said. “I have often wondered if it would be prudent to sand blast the little guy off,” he said.

The sign was donated by the Class of 1992, which graduated at a time when Confederate flag-waving at Walpole school athletic events was in full swing. If Imbusch ever had “Colonel Rebel” sandblasted off the sign, there is no question that a number of alumni, who have clung to the Confederate association to the Walpole Rebel mascot over the years, would be irate. It might be best to let sleeping dogs lie. That’s not to mention that the image itself isn’t inherently racist and was created long after the Civil War, though it does have significant symbolism and a controversial history associated with it.

In any event, 180 has been fighting for years for the $2000 sign to finally be acted on, preferably by having it put up. If the school district can successfully trade it in for a better sign that will actually be put up, that would be an excellent resolution. Otherwise, school officials should issue a public apology to the taxpayers for costing them $2000 on a sign they never bothered to use. Could this money be paid back somehow?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Arnie Fickel permalink
    June 26, 2012 7:37 AM

    I agree with your view on the sign Sam. I personally am tired of doing the governments work for them or pointing out to them other options than their standard ignorant reply of there is nothing we can do. Hitting a few keys on the internet they would discover a few other Walpole’s as in Walpole NH who may need a new HS sign and would maybe split the difference with us. If that does not work find somewhere in the School or on the property for it and give the taxpayers what they deserve value for their money.

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