TETON VALLEY, IDA – A persistent concern in Teton Valley has some in the community calling for the removal of Teton High School’s mascot. The school has used “Redskins” as its team moniker mainly in sports-related events since its inception. It is a ‘mascot’ that has been downplayed, however, in recent years.
Not immune to a nationwide trend to discontinue the use of terms and images referring to Native Americans/First Nations as the name or mascot for a sports team, the school has been especially at the forefront of the controversy after once announcing it would remove the moniker and, later, reversing that decision.
Current Teton School District 401 Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme announced in 2013 the school would no longer use the Redskin mascot effective immediately. He made that decision without school board input, however, and later changed his mind after receiving backlash from those who wanted to keep it.
The topic has not been revisited since until it was brought up again by Victor resident Stephanie Crockett, who urged the board to reconsider changing the mascot during a school board meeting in March, and then again in last month. Trustees said they would not discuss it until it was placed on an agenda. That day has finally come.
In a press release today, it was announced that the board of trustees for Teton School District 401 will discuss the Teton High School mascot at its regularly-scheduled meeting in July. The meeting is slated for Monday, July 8 at 5:30pm in the auditorium of Teton High School in Driggs. Public comment will be taken on the issue at that time.
Patrons are encouraged to provide input to school board members by email prior to the meeting; all comments by email become part of the public record.
Names and email addresses of board members are:
- Zone 1: Mary Mello
- Zone 2: Chair Chris Isaacson
- Zone 3: Ben Kearsley
- Zone 4: Jake Kunz: [email protected]
- Zone 5: Vice chair Nan Pugh
The board set the mascot issue for July because agendas for May and June were already full, and to have time to work out needed logistics for changing the venue from the district office to the THS Auditorium in anticipation of a large crowd.
Over the next two months, the board is focusing on budgeting for fiscal year 2019-2020; teacher-contract negotiations; end-of-school business; strategic plan review; and ongoing oversight of new construction and building renovations.
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