WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- While some parents and students are gearing up for the first day of school, one Warner Robins man says he's protesting it because he doesn't like the school's mascot.
Pastor Donald Crosby moved to Warner Robins about a year ago and says he wants to get rid of the demon mascot of Warner Robins High School.
"A demon never has a good connotation. Never," says Crosby. "If you look it up in Webster's Dictionary, there's nothing good about a demon."
He is pastor of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ.
Crosby says he was furious when he found out his ninth-grade son is a future "demon." He's been collecting signatures of protest ever since and has about a thousand signatures on his petition, many from his church and from the internet where he posted an online petition.
He says a pitchfork-wielding mascot sends the wrong message to teens.
"Hundreds of children gather into one place at one time chanting 'Go Demons.' It's the equivalent of us gathering into a church on Sunday morning and shouting 'Go Jesus' or 'Hallelujah Jesus,'" says Crosby.
Senior Ellen Ziesenhene says it isn't like that at all. This year's her fourth year as a "demon."
"We're all proud to be demons," says Ziesenhene. "You walk through the halls and see everyone wearing their Warner Robins High School shirts. It's really awesome."
Ziesenhene says the fiery mascot doesn't symbolize evil or satanism. It's just tradition.
Principal Steve Monday says the origin of the demon as a mascot is not religious in nature. In fact, it started in World War II.
He says the school got its mascot from the 7th fighter squadron at Robins Air Force Base, which earned its nickname in the South Pacific.
"They adopted that name in honor of that fighter squadron--the 'Screamin' Demons,'" says Monday.
In that sense, Monday says, the name is patriotic, not diabolical.
Crosby says he isn't convinced.
"There's no airplane there," says Crosby, holding up a picture of the mascot at a football game. "This doesn't look like something that has to do with the Air Force."
Crosby says he's ready to fight for what he believes in, but with sixty years of tradition behind it, the school says, it's ready, too.
Crosby says he put in a request for his son to be transferred to another school, but says it's unlikely it will be approved since disliking a mascot is not a valid reason override zoning rules.
Principal Steve Monday and District Superintendent Robin Hines both say there are no plans to change the school mascot.