Northborough / Southborough School Committee to Vote on Tomahawks Mascot
NORTHBOROUGH – A task force has recommended that the Northborough / Southborough Regional School Committee remove the use of the “Tomahawk” mascot from Algonquin Regional High School.
The school committee is expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday.
The Algonquin Mascot Study Group – led by High School Principal Sean Bevan – was made up of 16 people representing various groups and stakeholders. Among those represented were current Algonquin students; a member of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO); a member of the Algonquin Boosters; a member of the religious community who is a rabbi in one of the synagogues in the region; Sports director Mike Mocerino (who is also a former) and three members of the school committee, among others.
“We had as broad representation as possible,” Bevan said. “We even included community members who are elders and have Native American heritage. They provided us with information and really helped us understand the issues.”
However, the study group did not meet with the Nipmuc Council.
“The representative of the Nipmuc tribe indicated at the meeting that she would like to have been consulted and that she would like to be consulted in the future,” Bevan said.
Algonquin’s first-grade principal said the recommendation sent to the school committee on April 15 was almost unanimous, although not everyone agreed to the recommendation to change the mascot.
“One of the common themes we saw from the people who filled out the feedback forms was, ‘Is this really the best use of our resources? Bevan said. “Could the resources be better used to educate rather than to adjust the pictures?”
Another common theme of the feedback forms was that the use of the Tomahawk mascot “was not intended to harm or offend”.
Bevan clarified that the study group’s recommendation was not because “it offended people” but “whether or not the Tomahawk is the best symbol for our community and that the Tomahawk may be detrimental to Native Americans or to people. other minority groups. “
“It’s not really what our group was deciding,” Bevan said. “This detrimental impact is why the group decided to recommend retiring (the Tomahawk), which is a little different from being offended.
“There were certainly a lot of people who thought it was a ‘cancellation’ of our history or our culture, brought about by people who were offended, when in reality it was a little more complicated than that.”
If the school committee votes in favor of the task force’s recommendation, Bevan estimates the cost-neutral transition to remove the “Tomahawks” name, mascot, logo and images would take between five and seven years. , which would lead to the uniform cycle. , the logo on the basketball court, the scoreboard and the scorer’s table, the building furniture that is embroidered, etc.
The cost neutral proposition is what the study group recommended, but the school committee also asked the study group to look at the cost of an accelerated transition.
“If the Tomahawk logo isn’t the best thing for our students, is there a cost that we can identify that would allow us to speed up this process,” Bevan said. “We’re looking at what that might look like.”
Bevan noted that school officials have entered into discussions with various graphic design companies that have worked with other high schools that have changed their names from a Native American mascot at no cost.
Some Algonquin sports teams have already started to abandon the Tomahawk logo.
This season, the football team has discontinued the use of the Tomahawk logo sticker in favor of a University of Alabama-style “A” logo on their helmets. He still used however small Tomahawk “helmet stickers” which are given to players as rewards for individual or team achievements.
Bevan also cited two pieces of legislation from the Massachusetts Legislature that would require schools that have a Native American themed mascot to eventually change them, as well as the School District Equity Coalition, which examines how the district educates children on all equity-related issues to play a role in the task force’s recommendation to remove the Tomahawk mascot.
Ethan Winter is a senior multimedia sports reporter at the Daily News. It can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EWints.