MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The fate of Manhattan High School’s Indians mascot could be decided this fall.
Six of the seven Manhattan-Ogden school board members said at a meeting Wednesday that they were willing to discuss changing the mascot in the fall when incoming Superintendent Marvin Wade can weigh in on the issue, the Manhattan Mercury reports. Curt Herrman was the only board member against the conversation.
In early February, board president Marcia Rozell said she wasn’t planning to take up complaints about the mascot.
For the second school board meeting in a row, a Manhattan resident spoke in favor of changing the high school’s Indians moniker Wednesday.
Joe Sutliff Sanders said he believes keeping the mascot contradicts the school district’s mission to “help children learn well.” He argued that having a Native American mascot causes that population of students to do worse in school.
“If there is one thing that we are supposed to do in our schools, it is set our students up to succeed,” Sanders said. “The mascot at Manhattan High School does not do that. Let’s change it.”
Manhattan resident Kerry Keller said during the April 20 school board meeting, that when she moved to the city, the high school’s mascot surprised her, but she acclimated to the community’s culture. She changed her mind after learning more about the issue during a focus group about what residents wanted in a new superintendent.
“I decided I could not sit by quietly and tolerate the racism in my own backyard that is represented by the imagery of an Indian mascot,” she said.
Manhattan has used an Indian mascot since 1940. A push to change the mascot in 2001 was unsuccessful.
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